July 31st, 2010

Calcium Supplements Linked to Increase in CV Events

People who take calcium supplements may be at increased risk for cardiovascular events, according to a meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal. Mark Bolland and colleagues analyzed data from 15 randomized, placebo-controlled trials and found a significant increase in the risk of MI in subjects who received calcium supplements. The authors concluded that “although the magnitude of the increase in risk is modest, the widespread use of calcium supplements means that even a small increase in incidence of cardiovascular disease could translate into a large burden of disease in the population.”

In an accompanying editorial, John Cleland and colleagues conclude that “patients with osteoporosis should generally not be treated with calcium supplements, either alone or combined with vitamin D, unless they are also receiving an effective treatment for osteoporosis for a recognised indication.”

2 Responses to “Calcium Supplements Linked to Increase in CV Events”

  1. This sounds like another good reason to encourage attention to diet (as opposed to dietary supplementation) and regular weight-bearing exercise for our patients who are trying to prevent osteoporosis…

    Competing interests pertaining specifically to this post, comment, or both:
    None known.

  2. Interesting suggestion. I wonder if the studies were controlled regarding use of statin drugs. We all know that a multitude of factors are involved with atherosclerotic disease including endothelial injury, inflammatory response, etc. To withhold calcium supplementation from patients with osteoporosis, possibly resulting in hip fracture, impacts independence and quality of life maybe even more than a non-fatal MI.

    Competing interests pertaining specifically to this post, comment, or both: