Calcium Supplementation and Cardiovascular Risk: A Rising Concern

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2017 Jun;19(6):640-646. doi: 10.1111/jch.13010. Epub 2017 May 2.

Abstract

Over the past decade, the number of individuals taking calcium supplementation worldwide has been on the rise, especially with the emergence of new pharmaceutical companies specialized in the marketing of dietary supplements; with calcium supplementation being their main business axis. This is mostly because of the established role of calcium in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and, to a lesser extent, its role in the prevention of fractures. Recently, a rising body of evidence on the adverse effect of calcium supplementation on nonskeletal, especially cardiovascular, health has been a cause for concern. In fact, a significant number of studies have reported an association between calcium supplementation and adverse cardiovascular events, even though high dietary calcium intake was shown to have a protective effect. The mechanism by which calcium supplementation could cause a cardiovascular event was still unclear until a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Combining this recent finding with available data associating calcium supplementation with cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality, we call on the need for an evidence-based approach to calcium supplementation, while stressing on the safety of dietary calcium intake over the former on cardiovascular health.

Keywords: calcium; cardiovascular disease; supplementation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Calcium / administration & dosage
  • Calcium / adverse effects*
  • Calcium / supply & distribution*
  • Calcium / therapeutic use
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Calcium, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors

Substances

  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Calcium