Change of heart

I’m happy to report that the smear campaign on calcium is finally winding down.

Well, almost. Let me explain.

According to a recent study from Harvard, you can now fill up on calcium without worrying about your heart health. Researchers analyzed data from 690 women and 588 men with an average age of 60. They found that supplementing with this mineral didn’t increase calcium build-up in coronary arteries at doses up to 3,000 mg per day.

Of course, that story didn’t make front page headlines like the one before it. (Which, if you’ll recall, suggested that taking calcium could cause a heart attack.)

I can’t say I’m surprised. But it’s another win for our side, all the same. Unless, of course, you believe the results of a second new study, which appeared this month in JAMA.

This one showed that calcium doses up to 1,000 mg are safe for women. But they may increase risk of heart disease death in men by 20 percent.

Nutrition experts are already weighing in on this latest study’s flawed design. But don’t expect this little game of “he said, she said” to end anytime soon.

As usual, pushing the public’s panic buttons is just way too much fun.

“Calcium intake is not associated with increased coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Study.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1274-80.
“Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease MortalityThe National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study” JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-8. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3283.