Is excess calcium harmful to health?

Robin M. Daly, Peter R. Ebeling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most current guidelines recommend that older adults and the elderly strive for a total calcium intake (diet and supplements) of 1,000 to 1,300 mg/day to prevent osteoporosis and fractures. Traditionally, calcium supplements have been considered safe, effective and well tolerated, but their safety has recently been questioned due to potential adverse effects on vascular disease which may increase mortality. For example, the findings from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (currently published in abstract form only) revealed that the use of calcium supplements was associated with an ~30% increased risk of myocardial infarction. If high levels of calcium are harmful to health, this may alter current public health recommendations with regard to the use of calcium supplements for preventing osteoporosis. In this review, we provide an overview of the latest information from human observational and prospective studies, randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses related to the effects of calcium supplementation on vascular disease and related risk factors, including blood pressure, lipid and lipoprotein levels and vascular calcification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-522
Number of pages18
JournalNutrients
Volume2
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Calcium supplementation
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Elderly
  • Mortality

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