Background: Whether calcium or vitamin D supplementation reduces serious vascular outcomes in older people remains unclear. We conducted a meta-analysis based on randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of calcium or vitamin D supplementation on the risk of major cardiovascular outcomes.
Methods: We performed electronic searches in PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library to identify relevant randomized controlled trials. Odds ratios (ORs) were used to measure the effect of calcium or vitamin D supplementation on the risk of major vascular outcomes with a random-effect model.
Results: Of the 1643 identified studies, we included 11 trials reporting data on 50,252 individuals. These studies reported 2685 major cardiovascular events, 1097 events of myocardial infarction, and 1350 events of stroke. Calcium or vitamin D supplementation did not have an effect on major cardiovascular events (OR, 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.94-1.12; P=0.54), myocardial infarction (OR, 1.08; 95% CI: 0.96-1.22; P=0.21), or stroke (OR, 1.01; 95% CI: 0.91-1.13; P=0.80) when compared to the effect with a placebo. Subgroup analysis indicated that calcium supplementation alone might play an important role in increasing the risk of major cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, but this difference could not be identified as statistically significant. Furthermore, males seem to experience more harmful effects with supplements of calcium or vitamin D than the effects experienced by females.
Conclusions: Calcium supplementation might increase the risk of major cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction, and stroke compared to the risk with a placebo.
Keywords: Calcium; Meta-analysis; Myocardial infarction; Stroke; Vitamin D.