Q. Thank you for writing about calcium supplements. I have been taking 1000 mg calcium supplement daily for years.
About a year ago, September 2009, I had what my doctor called a mild heart attack. I failed a stress test, which led to a cath procedure. That was clear, but I remember the doctor saying it could possibly be from calcification rupturing or in some way blocking the micro vessels around my heart.
He was baffled and so am I, because the month before I’d had a health screening that indicated I was at very, very low risk of heart attack. I have low blood pressure, excellent total cholesterol, LDL and HDL numbers. I am slim, I eat right and I exercise.
Why did I have this heart episode? Could it have been a result of my calcium supplements?
A. The journal BMJ (online July 29, 2010) reported that calcium supplements (without vitamin D) were associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. This finding has created tremendous controversy and confusion. The authors suggest that calcium supplements can contribute to calcification in blood vessels.
We don’t know whether your long-term use of calcium pills contributed in any way to your heart event. The BMJ report will doubtless stimulate researchers and the FDA to try to resolve this mystery.