Latest attack on calcium fails to link mineral to heart attacks

Saturday, June 09, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: calcium, supplements, heart attacks

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(NaturalNews) A new scare study intended to deter people from taking calcium supplements only further reinforces the fact that calcium is actually safe, at least when taken with cofactor nutrients that aid in its proper absorption. The poorly-designed study, which was published in the journal Heart, claims that taking unidentified "calcium supplements" in unknown doses can increase risk of heart attack, and many mainstream media outlets are using these ridiculous claims to push pharmaceutical bisphosphonates as an alternative.

Millions of aging men and women take calcium supplements as part of dietary regimens designed to help prevent bone loss and bone fractures. Though not everyone takes calcium in the proper ratios with other important bone-building nutrients for optimal benefits, the general consensus is that calcium is at least one of the nutrients needed for optimal bone health, and that many people are not consuming enough of it.

But the popular use of calcium supplements is clearly cutting into Big Pharma's profits, which is why the drug industry continues to churn out studies claiming that calcium is dangerous and should be avoided. And this latest study making the rounds, which claims that calcium supplements are linked to an 86 percent increase in heart attack risk, appears to be a textbook case of drug industry-funded nonsense posing as science.

Bogus study compares apples to oranges and declares calcium unsafe

The study, which originates out of Switzerland, reportedly evaluated 24,000 German men and women taking unidentified calcium supplements. The study does not explain why these individuals were taking calcium supplements, nor does it explain what underlying metabolic conditions the participants had prior to taking their supplements.

The study was also entirely based on questionnaires given to participants about their dietary habits over an 11-year period. And the authors admittedly had no idea, based on the responses received, whether or not calcium supplements had anything to do with the heart attacks. Instead, they simply assumed that calcium supplements were to blame, and basically declared this to be fact.

But the real kicker is the so-called researchers determined a heightened risk of heart attack among those taking calcium supplements. To arrive at the 86 percent figure, the team compared heart attack rates among those taking calcium supplements to those not taking any supplements at all. As we all know, those who take supplements are likely doing so because they have a condition that requires them, while those who do not take supplements are likely younger and healthier.

This apples to orange comparison taints the results because the underlying health conditions of both groups were not disclosed, which means it is impossible to know which study participants may have already had calcium deposits in their coronary arteries. The study also makes no mention of whether or not the calcium group was taking magnesium, strontium, boron, vitamin D, and vitamin K with their calcium, all of which are necessary for proper calcium absorption.

All in all, there are so many problems with the study that it can hardly be considered a valid evaluation of "calcium," whatever that term even means. There are numerous varieties of calcium, after all, some of which are more bioavailable than others, which is yet another problem with the study.

This is not to say that mindlessly taking calcium supplements is healthy -- many naturopathic doctors recognize that calcium supplementation is much more complex than simply popping calcium pills ( However, it is also important to study up on vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and to not be taken in by every hit-piece study that comes out in opposition to dietary supplements.

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