Calcium tablets linked to increased heart attacks

According to a new study from Germany, regularly taking calcium pills can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack.

Many older people take calcium pills as a way of strengthening bone density and fighting off the threat on conditions such as osteoporosis but few are aware of the risks involved.

The study, which has been published in the Heart journal, said that promoting a diet which is full of calcium rather than taking supplements would be best advised for the majority of people.

Almost 24,000 people were studied by the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg over a period of ten years. Researchers looked at the number of attacks suffered by people taking calcium tablets compared against those who were not.

They found that those taking the supplements were 86 per cent more likely  to have a heart attack.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Health Supplements Information Service, however stressed that people taking calcium regularly should not be alarmed until further investigations are made.

She said: “Osteoporosis is a real issue for women and it is irresponsible for scientists to advise that women cut out calcium supplements on the basis of one flawed survey, particularly when the link between calcium, vitamin D and bone health is endorsed by the European Food Safety Authority.”

Natasha Stewart, a senior cardiac nurse with the British Heart Foundation, added: “This research indicates that there may be an increased risk of having a heart attack for people who take calcium supplements.

“However, 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. We need to determine whether the potential risks of the supplements outweigh the benefits calcium can give sufferers of conditions such as osteoporosis.”

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