A controversial new study has questioned the safety and efficacy of calcium supplement pills, suggesting that they may cause changes in blood vessels that could double users’ risk of heart attacks. The research, which was published in the journal Heart, seems to suggest that while widely embraced by doctors and the public, calcium taken in supplement form is not natural, and does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food. The authors of the study argue that calcium should be utilized as an important component of a balanced diet, and not as a “low cost panacea to the universal problem of postmenopausal bone loss."
Free Calcium Supplement Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by a calcium supplement, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the supplement and we can help.
What’s the problem?
The researchers, who were led by Professor Sabine Rohrmann from Zurich University's institute of social and preventative medicine, based their findings on data from nearly 24,000 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study in Heidelberg, Germany.
The test subjects, who were between the ages of 35 and 64, were asked about whether they took vitamin or mineral supplements prior to having their health tracked for an average of 11 years. During this time, the following complications were noted among the participants:
- 354 heart attacks
- 260 strokes
- 267 deaths
After taking extraneous factors into consideration, the test subjects whose diets included a moderate amount of calcium (820 mg daily) from all sources - both food and supplement - had a 31% lower risk of heart attack than those who got minimal levels of calcium intake. However, those participants with a calcium intake of more than 1100 mg per day did not have any statistically discernible lower risk, and there was no evidence that any amount of calcium intake either protected against or increased the risk of stroke.
But when the researchers examined vitamin and mineral supplement intake, they found that participants who took calcium supplements were nearly 90% more likely to have a heart attack than those who took no supplements whatsoever. This risk was further increased in individuals who used only calcium supplements, with this group more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who took no supplements.
"This study suggests that increasing calcium intake from diet might not confer significant cardiovascular benefits, while calcium supplements, which might raise [heart attack] risk, should be taken with caution,” said Rohrmann and her team.
However, Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, noted that while the study indicates there may be an increased risk of heart attack in supplement users, “... this does not mean that these supplements cause heart attacks.”
“Further research is needed to shed light on the relationship between calcium supplements and heart health,” said Stewart. “We need to determine whether potential risks of the supplements outweigh the benefits calcium can give sufferers of conditions such as osteoporosis.”
Do I Have a Calcium Supplement Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in calcium supplement lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new side effects cases in all 50 states.
Free Calcium Supplement Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by a calcium supplement, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a calcium supplement injury suit and we can help.