The People's Perspective on Medicine

Are Calcium Supplements Killing People?

People who take calcium supplements seem more likely to have calcifications in their arteries, a risk factor for heart disease.

Millions of men and women swallow a big calcium pill every day because they have been told it is good for their bones. That advice may be misguided, especially in light of research suggesting that high doses of supplemental calcium could pose risks for the cardiovascular system.

What Is the Evidence on Calcium Supplements?

One study suggesting that calcium supplements might have unexpected risks was published in JAMA Internal Medicine (online, april 22, 2013). Between 1995 and 1996 nearly 400,000 men and women were recruited into the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Their calcium intake was assessed with a very thorough questionnaire. They were then followed for 12 years. Men who consumed more than 1500 mg of calcium daily were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease death. The researchers did not find an elevated risk in women who took calcium supplements.

The authors concluded:

“We found a significant interaction by sex. Elevated CVD [cardiovascular disease] mortality with increasing supplemental calcium in-take was observed only in men; however, we cannot rule out the possibility that supplemental calcium intake may be associated with cardiovascular mortality in women.”

Some women took heart from these results, as women seemingly avoided the problem of cardiovascular mortality despite taking calcium supplements. That finding was probably misleading, however.

More Research Shows Women Are Also Vulnerable:

Other research suggests that women may not be immune to this problem. A study in 2012 involving nearly 24,000 German adults found that those taking calcium supplements were more likely to have heart attacks during the 11 years of follow-up (Heart, online May 23, 2012).

The researchers speculated that excess calcium circulating in the body might lead to calcification in blood vessels. Few people realize that the plaque that clogs coronary arteries is made up predominantly of calcium.

Another study involving women only also suggested that large doses of supplemental calcium might lead to heart complications. In this research (BMJ, online, April 19, 2011), more than 16,000 women over the age of 40 were randomized to take both calcium and vitamin D or placebo. Those taking the supplements had about 20 percent more heart attacks and other vascular problems.

A Pattern in the Findings:

Results from 13 other studies of calcium with or without vitamin D were consistent: those taking supplements were slightly more likely than those on placebo to suffer a heart attack or stroke. The researchers estimated that if 1,000 people took calcium for five years, six of them would have a heart attack or stroke and only three fractures would be prevented. Such a risk/benefit ratio is not favorable.

An editorial titled “Calcium Supplements: Bad for the Heart?” in the journal Heart [June, 2012] reviews the medical literature on this controversial topic. Here is the executive summary from the editorial: calcium supplements have been linked to kidney stones, constipation and other more serious digestive complaints, coronary artery calcification, heart attacks and strokes. After considering all the data that has accumulated over the last several years, the authors conclude:

“Thus, the consistent evidence is that calcium supplements do more harm than good and that other interventions are preferable for reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures…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.”

The Fallacy of Taking Too Much:

Many people figure that if a little calcium is necessary for strong bones (as it is), then a lot would work even better. It is estimated that one of two older men in the U.S. takes a calcium pill and nearly three out of four older women do so. Many health care practitioners have reinforced this attitude and even encouraged older men and women to take around 1500 mg of calcium a day in pill form. The evidence, however, seems to suggest that such large doses of calcium are linked to kidney stones, constipation, coronary artery calcification, heart attacks and strokes (Heart, June, 2012).

In the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine the authors propose a mechanism to explain how too much calcium creates complications:

“One plausible biological mechanism through which calcium may exert a harmful effect on cardiovascular health is vascular calcification–the deposit of calcium phosphate in cardiovascular structures…Emerging evidence has linked calcification of coronary arteries with increased atherosclerotic plaque burden, risk of coronary heart disease and mortality.”

The authors also point out that excess calcium might increase blood coagulation and lead to “stiffness” in the arterial wall.

A more recent study has confirmed that people taking calcium supplements were more likely to have calcification in their coronary arteries (Journal of the American Heart Association, October 11, 2016). In the MESA study (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis), those taking calcium supplements had the highest calcification scores. People getting the most calcium from their diets, however, had the cleanest arteries. You can read more about this study here.

But What About Taking Calcium Supplements for Strong Bones?

Although we have been repeatedly told that calcium supplements will be good for bones, if one really looks at the research, and there is an amazing amount of it, you will discover that the data demonstrating that calcium can be helpful in preventing fractures are exceptionally weak. Over the years more than 140 studies have examined the effects of calcium on fracture risk. About one third suggest benefit. Over half show no reduced risk. The rest were inconclusive.

Let’s take a look at epidemiology. In countries where people consume a LOT of milk, dairy products AND calcium supplements (Scandinavia, the United States and the UK), hip fractures are very common. In countries where milk and dairy consumption is low and calcium pills are rare (Africa, China, New Guinea and Iran), the hip fracture rate is much lower.

What about vitamin D?

Many people believe that if you just add vitamin D to calcium, the problem is solved. The meta-analysis of various studies only analyzed the research that has been completed. Most of the big studies were done with calcium alone. The doses of calcium that were employed in the various studies ranged from 500 mg of calcium carbonate to 1,400 mg of calcium citrate and 2,000 mg of lactogluconate-carbonate.

As for vitamin D, of the nearly 40 studies that have been published involving both calcium and vitamin D combined, roughly half showed fracture reduction and half demonstrated no benefit.

Unless there is a clear benefit from something, we are unwilling to accept a risk. Although the risk of heart attack may seem small in absolute numbers, if tens of millions of women are swallowing large doses of calcium, the number of people who may be vulnerable is actually quite substantial.

We encourage visitors to actually read the BMJ article. It is free and very comprehensive. It is also understandable.

You may also want to listen to our radio show about the pros and cons of calcium supplements with Michael Castleman and Amy Lanou, PhD, authors of Building Bone Vitality and Water Willett, MD, DrPH, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

Getting Calcium Without Taking Calcium Supplements

Getting calcium from your diet is not risky. In fact, it is the BEST way to get calcium safely. When your mother said, drink your milk for strong bones, her common-sense approach was far better than today’s recommendation to swallow horse pills of calcium. If you don’t like or can’t tolerate milk, there are other options. Here are some non-dairy sources of calcium:

  • Almonds
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Fortified Orange Juice
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Salmon (canned, bone-in)
  • Sardines
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tofu
  • Turnip Greens

Our Guide to Osteoporosis discusses some of the other things you can do to reduce your risk of weakened bones.

We hope you have found this People’s Pharmacy Alert worthwhile. If so, please share it with a friend or family member either via email, Twitter or Facebook (to the right of the title of this article at the top of the page). Encourage them to sign up for our Free email newsletter or health alerts. Please comment below on your experience with calcium supplements.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .

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I’m glad you included canned salmon with bones. Many recipes using canned salmon say to remove skin and bones. This is not necessary. The bones are quite soft and a good source of calcium. I never remove the skin, either, but I suppose that’s a matter of taste.

My understanding is that Vitamin D may help absorb Calcium, but Magnesium is the “horse that carts it around” in your body. Without Mg the Ca isn’t mobile–and in any case, the presence of enough magnesium will make sure the blood calcium is fairly level, so testing blood for calcium levels isn’t really a great test — if there isn’t enough calcium in the blood, the magnesium will go to the bones and teeth to get the necessary calcium needed for proper nerve and muscle function. So perhaps it is the magnesium and the calcium levels that should be studied and addressed? Most people are short of magnesium, leading to muscle cramping and jumpy legs…because the calcium transporter is not present.

What about fosamax? My doctor wants me to take it because of osteopenia, I have heard bad things about it and I don’t want to take. What can I do as alternative? Thank you

So what can we do if we think our arteries are clogged with calcium?

Would the calcium derived from cocoanut milk be considered to be supplemented calcium, assuming it is added to the milk in processing? (unless cocoanuts provide calcium?) I assume the calcium in almond milk would probably derive from the almonds themselves.

Can you please state how much and in what form you were using of calcium I am having joint problems also.

I would counter these findings depending on the bio-availability of the calcium product used. My understanding is that these forms of calcium are not readily bio-available. I would also like to know who funded the study published in JAMA.

Regarding the post from MJM, I totally agree.
When speaking of calcium metabolism, the first consideration is: how much calcium is in the diet? The next consideration is: how much of that calcium is actually absorbed from the gut? Vitamin D is the gatekeeper of how much calcium is absorbed from the gut. If you are a child and you have too little vitamin D, you will get rickets due to lack of absorbed calcium. If you are an adult and you have too little vitamin D, you will get osteomalacia from too little absorbed calcium.
The next question is: What is the fate of blood calcium if you have enough vitamin D? This is greatly affected by how much vitamin K2, and I am not referring to K1, you have on board. If you have enough K2, the calcium will go to the bones, and if not enough, some of the calcium will be deposited in the arteries, See: Vitamin K2 prevents Cardiovascular Disease and maintains Bone Strength: . If I quote the whole page, this post will probably never get published, so I will just give you one short snippet:
“Now, new clinical research carried out by researchers of VitaK at the University of Maastricht revealed that vitamin K2 can stop the calcification of the arteries and may actually even reverse it (Schurgers et al.). The new study is published this month in the American Hematology Society Journal Blood. According to Dr. Leon Schurgers “arterial calcification is a major and independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. This new study demonstrated that in rats with existing arterial calcifications the total amount of aortic calcium could decrease by 37% in 6 weeks during a high vitamin K2 diet”.”
On the topic of the study: Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, the Relative Risk in men is in the form of a U shaped curve for total intake of calcium which includes food plus supplements, where the lowest risk is approximately at 1000 mg/day. The median intake from food in the middle quintile is nearly 750 mg/day. That leaves a beneficial supplement of 250 mg/day. Supplementation above that progressively increases the Relative Risk. I emailed the lead author of the study, Dr. Qian Xiao, inquiring if vitamin K2 had been considered in the study; and he replied that it had not. So as far as I’m concerned, an absolutely critical factor in calcium metabolism reported in this study is not addressed, and I would wait for studies which include the effect of vitamin K2 before I put much faith in the study’s conclusions, as I take approximately 200 mcg/day of K2 in the form of natto.
Regarding the recommendation of Fortified Orange Juice
 as an alternate source of calcium, I cannot agree. IMHO, the concentrated fructose in the orange juice is detrimental to health, by being the primary cause of the Metabolic Syndrome. See youtube for “Sugar, the Bitter Truth”: , and “Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Richard Johnson About The Fat Switch” .
Sincerely, Russ S.

Hi thank you so much for the wonderful work you do.
I have Fibromyagia and need to take about 400 mgs of Magnesium. I was taking 600 mgs of Calcium with it, but since I read the articles about calcium I threw the pills out. Then I had muscle drawing and pulling in the groin area and thought I had restless legs for awhile.
I thought about it and tried a 1 1/2cup serving of Greek Yoghurt and the misery stopped. So should I just try to figure out how much milk and yoghurt I need per day and avoid the pills?

It’s great to see someone shedding light on health issues related to calcium supplements. Several years ago, a family member was suffering from kidney stones, and her doctor suggested that they were caused by too much calcium. That’s what prompted me to do extensive research into nutritional supplements and ultimately led to the publication of my book, The Day I Stopped Taking Vitamins. There’s no doubt in my mind that the best source of calcium is good old-fashioned food.

> but surely they must be different from other calcium supplements?
In some cases, I would agree with your naturopath, but in the case of calcium (and vit C), I’m not so sure. The fact that there are a number of different compounds used for calcium supplementation doesn’t do much to change what happens to an excess of calcium in the bloodstream, when all the other supporting players in the bone health story are not there.
OTOH, if you’re eating enough “whole food sources” to get all the magnesium, silica, D3 (not possible) and vitK that are required to maintain bone, PLUS getting load-bearing exercise, PLUS no history of extreme dieting or anorexia / bulimia, PLUS no family history of osteoporosis (and even even better, history of NO osteoporosis* which is not the same thing), AND you don’t take acid suppressing PPIs, AND you don’t drink sodas, you might be ok.
*that is, women lived long enough to be in the risk pool for osteoporosis and didn’t get it; if they died young you can’t say you have no history of o.

To deal with leg cramps my husband takes magnesium and Potassium. This last really made a difference for him. But you don’t want to take potassium if you are on an ACE-inhibitor for high blood pressure.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We don’t generally recommend taking potassium except under medical supervision. Too much is just as dangerous as too little. And you are right, PP, about ACE inhibitors. Others who are trying to prevent leg cramps might want to try eating more high-potassium foods, especially vegetables.

I mentioned to a naturopath my concerns about calcium supplementation shortly after the negative studies came out (about a year ago). She replied, without hesitation, that calcium supplements marked “from whole food sources” were not dangerous like the others were. They are still supplements, but surely they must be different from other calcium supplements? Anyway, I never see anything about this in any discussion thread.

My RA doctor has told me to take 3 Calcium Citrate pills with D3 each day plus one 500mg of D3. He has also has me on 3 Omega 3 fish oil capsules per day.
I also take Kirkland’s multi-vitamin Equal to Centrum Silver along with enteric fish oil. Is it possible that the fish oil helps to eliminate or counter act the of build up of calcium in the heart and veins? I have bone scans once or twice each year. I also take Leflunomide each evening.

MY internist & I were pretty happy with my overall health, but a fancy micronutrient test showed a calcium deficiency and marginal zinc level. So I’m now taking a Ca (333mg) + Zn (5mg) supplement, which also includes Mg (133mg) and vitamin D3 (200IU). Our feeling was, “it can’t hurt”, but now maybe I’m not so sure. I don’t notice any difference.
Interesting to read about the vitamin K relationship to Ca; why wouldn’t the Ca supplement include some? But I’m getting 30mcg of vitamin K from my daily multivitamin, so maybe I’m good. But it’s too expensive to test regularly for levels of everything that might matter, and what “might matter” usually isn’t based on sound science, but simply observation of test groups. This is all very confusing.

This situation is very confusing. What to do? What to do? Would you please do a program very soon devoted to the subject of calcium. My bone density is below what it should be. I stopped Foxomax because of its side effects and have been taking calcium regularly. Is it possible to get all the calcium we need from our diet? Thanks.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: You may be interested in a show we did a couple of years ago: Bone Vitality

What is the overall life expectancy in the “low calcium” countries? My grandmother had a hip fracture at an age of over 60, in many parts of the world one is lucky to attain that age!

Thank you Terry and Joe for your excellent newsletter.
You listed “fortified orange juice” as a dietary source of calcium.
I drink a lot of soy milk which is fortified with calcium. Is this dietary calcium or
does it fall in the category of a supplement?

Since I have scoliosis, milk intolerance, fibromyalgia, and gluten intolerance, I am more concerned with developing osteoporosis than I am having a heart attack. I have a stress test every year as prescribed by my cardiologist, have never had high cholesterol or blocked arteries due to calcium build up. I did have an artery blocked by scar tissue caused by inflammation and have a stent in that artery. I take 1200 – 1500 mg. calcium citrate (not carbonate) every day and have for years. I am 84 and just whipped a bout with flu and pneumonia. My bones are strong, and I intend to try to keep them that way. I would be scared to death to stop my calcium supplements. My doctors all approve what I am doing.

I believe too much calcium is bad. I take (sometimes a lot of antacids) so take very little calcium otherwise. Still believe in Cod Liver Oil. It has vitamin D.

There is no info. here about the kind of calcium (have heard that carbonate is not as absorb-able as citrate, for example) nor is there any mention of how/if magnesium was combined with calcium in these studies. Some years ago, I experienced a reversal of osteopenia with CalMag, a supplement that combined calcium with the same amount of magnesium. It worked great for me, but my sister could not take it because of the magnesium creating diarrhea. But it was soon after no longer available, presumably because of studies that did not support this dosage mode. I don’t remember what variety of calcium it contained–was not into observing that some 20 or so years ago. So, though I get the cardiac implications, these studies seem to fail to address the possibilities of calcium for bone health when dosed in different ways.

Good info. After researching the benefits oat straw & horsetail (herb) tea, I decided to go that route for my daily calcium. I first checked with my Naturopathic Doctor (ND), who also has a degree in Chinese medicine, and she gave me the go-ahead. Please do your own research and check out with your own physician.

I had a high blood calcium count and was given additional tests which showed the probability that I had a tumor on my parathyroid gland. To confirm, a scan was done which showed a small tumor which was disrupting my proper calcium levels, leaching calcium from my bones into my blood. The tumor [benign] was removed and I was prescribed a calcium and D supplement… a moderate dosage, until my parathyroid glands normalized. Subsequent tests show I now have blood calcium levels well within the normal range. It was suggested I stay on a daily 500mg Calcium plus D dose indefinitely.
But this new information disturbs me. Should I stop taking my supplement? I’m not taking the high dose mentioned as problematical.
Karen brings up good points. People of northern European descent have a different lifestyle profile than those with more of an equatorial heritage. Sun, diet, exercise, heritage and environment … are factors that may not have been considered in the studies being mentioned. I don’t think it’s accurate to single out calcium as the cardio problem culprit.

What about the people taking PPI, (Nexium, Prilosec, etc.) which leach calcium? Shouldn’t those people be supplementing their calcium a bit?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Quite right! Not only calcium, but a host of other nutrients are affected by these acid suppressors, including magnesium and vitamin B12.

I wonder why calcium fortified orange juice is o.k., but taking a supplement with juice may not be. Don’t fortified foods just have a supplement added to them? Is there something in particular about taking it with food?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Good point. We’re not sure that calcium-fortified juice actually is superior to/safer than a supplement pill.

Yes, or, possibly, genetics is involved… it is hard to tell, the US is such a mixed bag of lifestyles, racial backgrounds, whereas China, NG etc are pretty homogeneous… I take Rx vitamin D (and B12 shots, and several other supplements) as I have had colectomy, so I don’t really have a choice… frankly, I am happy to hear that swallowing those horse pills at 500 mg 3x a day may not be so good for you. I hate doing it

I’d like to see the results of supplementing with magnesium as well.

Adults do not need milk. It is hard to digest. Humans are the only mammals that drink milk from another mammal. Kids need milk, adults do not. The milk industry has mislead us for many years.

Twenty years ago at age 52, I decided to take calcium because of the bone loss associated with menopause. After several months, I developed large, painful, palpable lumps on my Achilles tendons making it painful to walk. My Dr. sent me to an arthritis clinic at a nearby teaching hospital. The first diagnoses was anklyosing spondolythyasis which was disproved with further blood work.
It took over a year to find out the lumps which were appearing around other joints by this time, were caused from taking calcium. This was not discovered by a Dr., but by accident in an article in a medical journal. The lumps disappeared in a couple of months when the calcium was stopped. The body does not seem to like the addition of minerals not injested from food.

>Let’s take a look at epidemiology. In countries where people consume a LOT of milk, dairy products AND calcium supplements (Scandinavia, the United States and the UK), hip fractures are very common. In countries where milk and dairy consumption is low and calcium pills are rare (Africa, China, New Guinea and Iran), the hip fracture rate is much lower.
Let’s look at the latitude while we’re at it. Those countries with higher milk consumption are much farther from the equator. Less sun, less circulating D. Far as I know, the Swedish diet’s not long in the leafy greens = high K, but I could be wrong on that.
Not unrelated, people probably (?) get a heaping pile o’more exercise in those low fracture places, and we know load-bearing exercise is one of the most important factors in bone health.
In other words, +1 to “multivariate studies are hard to do.”
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Completely agree on the difficulty of such multivariate studies and on all the factors you’ve outlined (pleading ignorance on Swedish greens). Fact is, human behavior and biology are rarely just one factor.

I have been taking a combination of Calcium (1000mg and Magnesium (500mg). I was taking to prevent leg cramps I have read that Magnesium help to lower high blood pressure. What are your thoughts?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Magnesium does help control blood pressure and also helps to balance calcium. Taking the two together is better than taking calcium alone. We expect future research to show us which other minerals and vitamins are needed to optimize calcium/magnesium utilization by our bodies.

Dear People’s Pharmacy, I love your columns in the Fayetteville Observer in N.C. The problem I had with calcium was excess calcium that brought on /caused my thyroid glands to enlarge so much they removed 2 on the right side of my throat. I think it was called Hyperparathyroid. I now have a 2 inch scar on my throat. My primary Dr. kept telling me to be sure and take calcium with vit. D every day for my bones. I was going to 2 other Dr’s, a heart specialist, and a endocronologist who was also watching my calcium levels. She sent me to an ENT Dr. who ordered a scan of my thyroid gland. I had two very large adnomas. I was mad that my primary care Dr. didn’t catch it . Now I’m reading about heart problems associated with calcium too. Thank you for the warning. I’ll speak to my Dr. about this soon.

It is my understanding that the calcium we take in must move from our gut, into the synovial fluid in our joints, and then into the bone, before it can be withdrawn and actually used by our body AS INTENDED. Our bone is our mineral bank. That’s why people with osteoporosis are not healthy in other ways either. Their mineral bank is not functioning well.
Gut lactoferrin is what transfers minerals from the gut into the blood stream, and bone lactoferrin moves it from the blood stream into the synovial fluid and the bone. It is bone lactoferrin that moves calcium and other minerals back out again, into our body tissues (brain, heart, etc.) as needed. The transport systems function less efficiently as we age. I am on a lactoferrin bio-replenishment product that has reversed osteoporosis totally naturally in many people, because the lactoferrin is the transportation system. It has been proven by research to do so.
So many of us were led to believe that the calcium we take in goes directly to where it is needed. Actually, unless our transport system is working well and unless our bones are functioning like a healthy mineral bank, the calcium we ingest hangs out in our blood and attaches to our artery walls and messes with our kidneys.
I’m grateful for all the research we can get our hands on to help us keep our bone mineral banks healthy. Thanks, People’s Pharmacy, for bringing us up-to-speed on recent calcium research.

If we also take Vitamin K 2 (MK-7) 100 mcg, it helps calcium go to where it is useful and out of the blood where it is not.
No one knows if that would reduce or even remove the risks involved.
Plus today’s fruits & vegetables have far fewer nutrients than they used to.
What to do?

Vitamin K is the traffic cop for calcium in our bodies. When there’s incoming calcium, should it go into the bones, or circulate in the blood and end up lining our arteries? Absent Vitamin K, calcium winds up in our arteries, leaving our bones vulnerable to fractures. Information about Vitamin K would be hugely helpful in understanding the problems our bodies appear to be having in handling calcium.

A friend who is a nurse practitioner tells me we can just chew 2 Tums a day and get the calcium we need.
Would that resolve the problems raised by supplements?
Not exactly. Calcium carbonate is the same whether you take it as a dietary supplement or an antacid like Tums.

The problem with so many so called “scientific studies” is that they are looking at only one factor in their test groups. The people who had heart attacks and strokes might have also had other risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of proper diet and no exercise. People cannot be fit into one cubbyhole because every body is different.
I cannot eat beans, almonds, citrus and a couple of other items on your list of foods. I cannot drink milk and have to limit the amount of cheeze I eat. I have taken a calcium/magnesium (calcium citrate) supplement for years. I exercise and attempt to eat a healthy diet. I take a probitic and other supplements every day. My family doctor cannot believe my skin tone and overal health is so good for my age (64). My last bone density was normal.
I am not going to be obsessive over this study and that one. I do the best I can to help myself and that is all I can do. I am not going to go for a bunch of expensive tests just because they are out there. I avoid hospitals like the plague. I have all of your books and think they are wonderful for giving suggestions. Each of us has to find what works for us. I appreciate being on your e-mail list and I pass some of them on to others who might benefit. Thank you for the information you pass along to us.
Thank you RDW. You are being very sensible. And thank you for the kind endorsement of our various publications. Anyone who would like to see what is available may want to click on the following link:

It never made sense to me why people take large doses of calcium, and nothing else, to protect their bones. It makes sense to take a supplement which is balanced in mineral content and which would have all the minerals found in our bones in the proper proportions. That would include magnesium and the trace minerals. Large unbalanced dosages will surely lead to trouble as this study shows.

an excellent review of a topic that has deserved more scrutiny from the medical community. thank you!

What about algae-based calcium supplements? Is this likely to apply to them also?

I am soooo confused. I have osteopenia….and of course was told to take
fosamax and calcium for years. I stopped the fosamax for 2 years and was told by my GYN to start it again. I mentioned a lower dose and she finally
agreed there was a lower dose for the osteopenia. Then my Dr. used a frax
(I think that is what it was called) and said no I should not take it. He did tell me to start taking calcium again. Two pills a day with D.
I can’t stand it……..what do I do??????????????????????????????????? I had quit taking it based on what I had heard. Now again what do I do?
Ask your doctor to review the article in JAMA Internal Medicine as well as some of the other articles we link to above. Once your physician has done the appropriate homework ask for a recommendation.

The article referred to a dosage of 1500mg. Typical multi-vitamin has 200+/-mg. Typical calcium supplement has about the same. Have any studies looked at lower dosage levels?

I have been taking calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D3 for years. I do not consume very much in food. I would never be able to eat enough of the calcium rich foods to get the daily requirement. I assume that a portion of broccoli twice a week, 3oz of yogurt a day, and occasional cheese won’t quite do it. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and about 6oz of protein each day but not enough of those listed. I hate milk and tofu does nothing for me. Also I am very estrogen dominant, so too much soy is not good for me. What’s a 67 year old gal to do?? I don’t have osteoporosis or heart disease, that I know of, and take no meds. I rely on supplements for good health.

Just wondering, do these calcium supplements include those purchased in the health food stores?
Yoly from NM

I wish these studies what kind(s) of calcium the subjects were taking. Calcium carbonate? Calcium citrate? Tums? What Kind!!!

You need Vitamin K and Vitamin D and calcium and magnesium and probably other nutrients. Taking one nutrient never seems to help, does it? I have been listening to Joel Wallach videos. He says we need 60 minerals and that you cannot get all of them from today’s foods. Primitive societies that use wood ashes in their food are better nourished than we are in this country.

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