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Large Study Reaffirms Calcium Supplementation Safe for Women's Heart Health

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WASHINGTON, June 4 -- The Council for Responsible Nutrition issued the following news release:

A new study published in the May issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Osteoporosis International1, found no independent associations between supplemental calcium intake and risk of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. This prospective cohort study of 74,245 women in the Nurses' Health Study, with 24 years of follow-up, counters studies from a research group in New Zealand that suggested calcium supplements may be associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

The authors noted, "In this large-scale, long-term prospective cohort study in women, calcium supplement use was inversely associated with the risk of CHD. Our findings do not support an increased risk of CVD with calcium supplement use in women."

In addition, the study findings actually suggested that calcium supplements are associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers identified some potential limitations around this finding and advised more research would be needed to confirm it.

This is the fourth study in the past 18 months to reaffirm calcium's safety2, 3, 4, in line with the total body of scientific research.

Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN, said, "Calcium is an essential nutrient most widely used for its bone health benefits, and government data show most Americans don't get enough. We encourage continued studies on calcium's safety and benefits, but this study should help women feel confident that calcium supplements are an appropriate choice if they are not getting enough from food alone."

1 Paik JM, Curhan GC, Sun Q, et al. Calcium supplement intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Osteoporos Int. 2014; May 7 (Published online ahead of print).

2 Prentice RL, Pettinger MB, Jackson RD, et al. Health risks and benefits from calcium and vitamin D supplementation: Women's Health Initiative clinical trial and cohort study. Osteoporos Int. 2013; 24(2):567-580

3 Downing L, Islam MA. Influence of calcium supplements on the occurrence of cardiovascular events. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2013; 70(13):1132-9

4 Samelson EJ, Booth SL, Fox CS, et al. Calcium intake is not associated with increased coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012; 96(6):1274-80

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