Entries in Calcium (9)


Calcium Linked to Reduced Risk of Death in Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the benefits of taking calcium supplements are frequently debated, a new study shows that they may reduce the risk of death in women.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, analyzed data from over 9,000 patients and determined that calcium intake did not significantly impact the rate of death in men. However, women who used calcium supplements had a noticeably lower risk of death than women who did not.

The benefits of increased calcium intake were seen by women who received 1,000 milligrams per day of the common dietary supplement, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, vitamin D is often included in calcium supplements because of the role it plays in helping the body to absorb calcium.

According to research, 15.2 percent of women take calcium supplements alone, 3.7 percent take vitamin D supplements alone and 29 percent were taking the two in tandem. Comparatively, just 7.3 percent of men take just calcium supplements, 4.4 percent take only vitamin D supplements and 15.4 percent use both.

While researchers say that they do not know the full risks or benefits of the two supplements are not yet known, they continue to recommend that clinicians "assess dietary intake to meet calcium and vitamin D requirements for bone health and to consider supplementation as necessary to meet the requirements."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D and Calcium Not Recommended for Certain Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The government is telling healthy postmenopausal women to skip daily doses of vitamin D and calcium.

According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, these supplements taken in low doses to prevent bone fractures won't do older women any good if they're already in good health.

In fact, the task force says 400 international units or less of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams or less of calcium "could increase the likelihood of kidney stones," a painful condition affecting the urinary tract.

However, low doses of vitamin D and calcium are still okay for people with osteoporosis, a bone disease leading to increased risk of fracture, or vitamin D deficiencies.

The task force did not have any conclusive evidence of what benefits or disadvantages these supplements might have for men and premenopausal women.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D and Calcium Taken Together Offer No Help for Dementia

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The latest research into one possible treatment for dementia in women proved to be somewhat disappointing, but experts think it still might hold some promise.
Past research has suggested that vitamin D might protect against memory loss and decline in the aging brain. A study in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at 2,000 women whose average age was 71. In all, they took 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium together every day for an average of eight years.
But the women developed cognitive impairments -- everything from memory trouble to serious dementia -- at the same rate as a comparison group given placebo pills.  They found that vitamin D and calcium supplements taken together in low doses offered no protection against dementia.
Still, the authors say they learned how calcium and vitamin D might have conflicting effects. That points researchers toward a more definitive study, testing higher levels of vitamin D alone, with higher hopes it will do some good.

"I think the definitive study will just look at the effects of vitamin D," said lead study author Rebecca Rossom, from HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, a nonprofit arm of a health maintenance organization based in Minnesota.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taking calcium supplements to build stronger bones may be bad for the heart, according to a new study that suggests getting similar doses from calcium-rich foods is a safer alternative.

The study, which followed nearly 24,000 German men and women between the ages of 35 and 64, found those who regularly took calcium supplements were 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not.  Study subjects who relied completely on supplements for their daily calcium intake were 139 percent more likely to have a heart attack.

"Calcium supplements, which might raise [heart attack] risk, should be taken with caution," the authors wrote in their report, published Thursday in the journal Heart.

Calcium is critical for strong bones and teeth.  But the new study suggests supplements, many of which are sold as tasty gummy candies and chocolates, are no replacement for healthy foods.

"Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures," Ian Reid and Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland in New Zealand wrote in an editorial accompanying the study.  "It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food."

Adult men and women should consume between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily, according to the National Institutes of Health.  For most Americans, that's a cup of yogurt, a glass of milk and a slice of cheese.  For nondairy dieters, a bowl of enriched cereal, a glass of fortified orange juice, half a cup of tofu and a slice of salmon will do the trick.

But some people, such as post-menopausal women, struggle to get enough calcium from food alone and turn to supplements for a boost.  More than 60 percent of women over 60 take calcium supplements, up from 28 percent two decades ago, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

"We should return to seeing calcium as an important component of a balanced diet, and not as a low cost panacea to the universal problem of postmenopausal bone loss," wrote Reid and Bolland, who in 2011 linked calcium supplements to an increased risk of heart attack in post-menopausal women.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Studies Shed More Light on Benefits of Vitamin D

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two recent studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine look at the benefits of Vitamin D supplements.
While researchers found that Vitamin D and calcium reduced the risk of fractures in older persons, Vitamin D alone was not effective.
The authors found less evidence to support taking Vitamin D supplements for cancer prevention. And though some data suggest high doses of Vitamin D can reduce the risk for total cancer, more research is needed to be sure.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many ailments, including hypertension, stroke, diabetes and heart failure. A second study reviewed research on the effects of supplemental Vitamin D on cardiovascular problems.
In that study, the results have been inconclusive or contradictory -- again calling for more study on the topic.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D, Calcium May Lower Risk of Melanoma for Some Women

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) -- Women who have a history of skin cancer and take supplements of calcium and vitamin D may lower their risk of developing melanoma, according to a new study published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine analyzed data collected from 36,000 women for the Women's Health Initiative and found that women with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer who took a daily dose of 1,000 mg of calcium plus 400IU of vitamin D had a 57 percent lower risk of developing melanoma than women with the same cancer history who didn’t take the supplements.

However, the study's authors found that the combination of supplements did not have this protective effect in women without a history of non-melanoma skin cancer.

The authors noted that although these results should be interpreted with caution, it may be that vitamin D and calcium could prevent melanoma in high-risk women.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Calcium: How Much Do Women Really Need?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(UPPSALA, Sweden) -- The U.S. government currently recommends that post-menopausal women need a calcium intake of at least 1,200mg per day.  Calcium supplementation is recommended primarily to reduce the risk of bone fractures, particularly in post-menopausal women.  But how much is needed to achieve this goal?
For the study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers followed more than 61,000 women in Sweden for almost 20 years and found that those who took less than about 700mg of calcium per day, through diet or supplements, had a higher risk of fractures than women who took larger quantities.  But, taking more than 750 mg/day didn’t seem to provide additional benefit since fracture risk did not decrease with higher calcium intakes.  Therefore, the authors conclude that taking more than 750mg/day of calcium for prevention of bone fractures is unnecessary.
Many experts think that the U.S. guidelines are reasonable, and add that for many women the problem isn’t too much calcium…it’s the opposite.

But one expert, Dr. Nanette Santoro from University of Colorado School of Medicine, told ABC News that taking too much calcium isn’t without risk.

“Within the past year we have learned that calcium supplements….are associated with a slight increase in cardiovascular disease risk.”  She adds, however, that “the average American woman's diet contains about 600mg [of calcium] if she is not paying any attention, so practically speaking, if you throw in a yogurt and one more calcium-rich food item (low or non-fat of course!), you are probably fine.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Calcium Supplements Up Heart Attack Risk in Post-Menopausal Women

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) -- Post-menopausal women taking calcium supplements -- many times used to help fight off or treat bone less -- may be at a greater risk from suffering from a heart attack, according to a new study.

Using data from the Women's Health Initiative Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation Study -- a seven-year trial in 36,282 post-menopausal women -- Dr. Ian Reid from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and colleagues concluded that women who took calcium supplements had a 13 to 22 percent greater risk of having a heart attack than women who did not.

The risk went up regardless of whether the women also took vitamin D, which promotes calcium absorption and bone mineralization.  The researchers also found a milder increase in stroke risk among women taking the supplements.

"When these results are taken together with the results of other clinical trials of calcium supplements, with or without vitamin D, they strongly suggest that calcium supplements modestly increase the risk of cardiovascular events, particularly myocardial infarction," Reid and colleagues wrote in the report published Wednesday in BMJ.  "These data justify a reassessment of the use of calcium supplements in older people."

But the findings, which stem from a review of old data rather than new observations, conflict with earlier reports from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI).

"In other WHI analyses, we found no association between [calcium and vitamin D] supplementation and [coronary heart disease] or stroke death and neither did these authors," said Andrea LaCroix, a professor of epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a co-author of the earlier WHI studies.

LaCroix says "exploratory" reviews of past studies can often lead to findings that result from chance alone.  But Reid and colleagues argue that the heart attack risk went unnoticed in earlier investigations because so many study subjects were taking calcium supplements outside of the study.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Americans could find themselves taking 50 to 100 percent more vitamin D to keep up with recommended daily levels, if a prominent health organization has anything to say about it.

In a new report, the Institute of Medicine, or IOM, an independent, nonprofit organization connected to the National Academy of Science, released dietary recommendations for vitamin D and calcium Tuesday.  Estimated average requirements for the two nutrients were set in 1997 and have not been updated since.

The IOM assigned a committee of experts to review more than one thousand studies related to vitamin D and calcium.  The review committee found that the majority of Americans and Canadians receive the appropriate amount of vitamin D and calcium, except for girls ages 7-to-18.  The report also found that postmenopausal women taking supplements may actually be getting too much calcium, which could increase their risk for kidney stones.

Standing by previous recommendations, the committee says infants and children ought to receive 200 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, and older children and adults should get 1,000 to 13,000 milligrams.

The committee made more significant changes to vitamin D recommendations.  Previous estimated average requirements recommended 400 International Units (IUs) a day for everyone.  The new IOM report recommends that infants receive 400 IUs of the vitamin per day and 600 IUs for children and adults.  Committee members said that people aged 71 or older may need a bit more -- about 800 IUs per day. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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