17 April, Washington D.C
Taking a calcium supplement, with or without vitamin D, was earlier linked to an increased heart risk, but now a recent study has supported the cardiovascular safety of their supplementation.
The University of Southampton study was based on analysis of the UK Biobank, a very large study comprising 502,664 men and women aged 40-69 years.
Of the total UK Biobank participants, 34,890 individuals reported taking calcium supplements, 20,004 taking vitamin D supplements, and 10,406 taking both. The researchers found no associations between the use of calcium supplements and hospital admissions related to ischaemic heart disease (e.g. heart attacks), any cardiovascular event, or death following admission for either admission category. Results were similar for vitamin D and combination supplementation.
Furthermore, regardless of whether participants had a history of cardiovascular disease or not at baseline, calcium supplementation (with or without vitamin D) did not increase the risk of future cardiac events, findings which remained robust after other factors such as age, fatness, medication use and blood pressure were considered.
Researcher Nicholas C. Harvey noted that their results, using the largest single study to date, provide reassurance that such supplementation appears safe.
Professor Cyrus Cooper added that this study illustrates the importance for the University of Southampton and MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit in leading large, multicentre analyses on this internationally leading UK Biobank dataset. The findings will be built upon in further analyses that capitalise on the genetic and intensive musculoskeletal phenotyping components of the study in which we continue to play an important role.
The study appears in journal Osteoporosis International.