Is there such a thing as calcium overload? I saw on the news that calcium supplements increase the risk of heart attacks in older women. I’m 59 and I take a calcium pill daily. Should I be concerned?
There’s likely no reason to worry if you already take calcium. The Women’s Health Initiative study you’re referring to linked calcium supplementation with a 20 percent increase in heart attack risk, but only in women who were “new” to the supplement. The researchers suspect an abrupt change in blood calcium levels can lead to calcification (hardening) of the arteries.
That said, I don’t think calcium supplements are necessary. I prefer women get the nutrient from food: Two to three servings of dairy, dark leafy greens or calcium-fortified OJ will get you to the recommended 500 mg daily dose. And to ensure calcium is optimally absorbed and used, I advise supplementing with at least 400 mg of magnesium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day, which will also help protect against calcification of the arteries. What’s more, many of my clients report an increase in energy levels and greater well-being as a result of taking this nutrient duo.