Stronger bones… Weaker heart
We are taught that you need calcium for strong bones and we all know that strong bones are a very good thing to have.
Osteoporosis is a disease of weakened bones, which means bones can break more easily. This is a big concern for the elderly as hip fractures resulting from falls are very debilitating.
So advertisements, store shelves, and certain every day foods are now touting “more calcium”.￼ We think it’s good for us… But is it?
A large number of studies have looked at the effect of calcium supplementation and bone health. The actual evidence? Unfortunately, is weak.
There may be a small benefit of calcium supplementation for people who are vitamin D deficient. Many studies show no beneficial effect.
Heart disease is the number one, leading cause of death. Many studies have shown an increased risk and mortality associated with calcium supplementation.
This does not apply to calcium obtained from food, calcium that’s naturally present.
So for long-term use, calcium supplementation might increase the risk of atherosclerosis. But for a diet which includes calcium rich foods, there might be a protective effect.
Good food sources of dietary calcium include: dairy, sardines, canned salmon, chia seeds, almonds, dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale￼, amaranth, and figs.
Note the leafy greens also contain a compound called oxalates which reduce the amount of calcium your body can absorb.
Make no bones about it... if possible, it’s better to get calcium needs satisfied from food before using calcium supplements.