Does anybody here truly understand the new warnings about calcium supplements and heart problems? My question is if they say not to take calcium supplements any more, how about calcium-fortified foods? I understand that the calcium that occurs naturally in food like milk and cheese is fine. But orange juice, cereal, and other foods these days (even some cookies!) now have calcium added. If I look at the ingredients in those items it says "calcium carbonate" which is exactly what is in a supplement. So isn't it the same as just adding a crushed pill to the food? Wouldn't that be as bad as taking a supplement? If not, why not? Is it that it's a smaller amount and it's taken with food? If so, then I could just cut a pill in half and take it with food. I'm afraid the answer is that they don't really understand how it all works because I've never seen this addressed in any of the reading I've done, all I find is "don't take calcium supplements" because that is the correlation they studied. Any thoughts?
Where exactly did this warning come from? If from the FDA or any similar organization (or the T.V.) I would be very suspect. They know little about vitamins and have a vested interest (greed) in pushing drugs instead. On the other hand, I think very often people take vitamins indiscriminately without regard to what their particular body might need. I have a lab test done once a year which actually checks vitamins so that I know if there are any particular deficiencies to be addressed. I also use herbs and vitamins (well-researched prior) for specific ailments.
Another thing to consider is that all vitamins are not the same. Within a particular vitamin, such as calcium, there is also a wide variation in product. I think that anyone who wants to use vitamin supplementation should also be willing to research to find the best and most unadulterated product. Whole foods are usually best as a first choice but some people have absorption and other issues that necessitate extra help. Vitamins can be very useful in these cases.
Jenj, I'm surprised you haven't heard this before, I guess you are not a 50+ female with low bone density. All my friends doctors have been telling them to stop taking calcium supplements. The study was done by university researchers, no connection to any pharma or FDA or anything. This was the largest study, but is supported by smaller studies that were done in the past. Many cardiologists suspected this before, but such a large study as this was not done before and it showed a very very statistically significant correlation between taking calcium supplements and increased risk of heart attack. Apparently calcium from supplements forms plaque in the arteries. The speculation is that calcium that occurs naturally in foods is absorbed more slowly over a longer period of time, so it doesn't form the plaque. But again, none of the analyses of the studies I've read address calcium in food that is not natural, like fortified foods. All they say is to get your calcium from foods where it occurs naturally, like milk and cheese.
I don't take calcium so probably was not in tune to the warnings. I do take magnesium and I also juice, including leafy greens, so I get plant calcium and the magnesium helps as well. I don't know if you're familiar with Dr. Mercola but you might want to read what he says about all this. I like a lot of his supplements and he's also pretty in-tune with health matters.
Some of those calcium fortified foods might actually work to break down your bone calcium while at the same time calcifying your soft tissues, organs, and arteries. For a short term I was taking a Ca-Mg supplement thinking I was helping my hearth health, especially blood pressure control, after all the more Ca-Mg-Potassium the better right? Maybe not. Some well-run studies have shown the calcium by itself probably reduces bone density while calcifying vascular tissues. When Magnesium, Vits D or K are included results improve. There's a delicate balance that has to be met here. There's also a concern about balancing your vit A vs. vit D levels as well. Dr. Guy Daniels in his book on "Reduce Your Healthcare Costs Through Natural Medicine" addresses the science of supplementation and diet very well. Several other books I've read have come out with similar results. Before adding supplemental calcium to my diet I'd ensure I have all the other building blocks in the right proportion....including removing those foods that tend to break down your bone calcium.