To continue on the subject of harmful nutritional supplement myths, there’s another I want to tackle today. And in the process, hopefully put to bed an important issue that has confused countless women for years now.
I’m talking, of course, about calcium supplementation. More specifically, its risks and benefits after menopause, which have been at the center of an ongoing debate. A debate that, with any luck, this latest research will put to rest…
Safe any way you slice it
Let me start with the good news and go from there: A recent randomized trial showed no difference in heart risk between people who get their calcium from diet alone, and those who get it from supplements.
The study recruited 121 healthy postmenopausal women and randomly assigned them to three groups. One group was assigned to get 1,200 mg of calcium daily through food. Another was assigned to take 750 mg of calcium citrate, and to limit dietary intake to 450 mg, for a total of 1,200 mg daily. And a third group served as a control.
All subjects also took a vitamin D supplement for a total of 800 IU per day. (Which is far too low, but that’s an entirely different discussion.)
Subjects in all three groups started the study with no significant differences in age, BMI, blood pressure, or average dietary calcium intake. And after 12 months, there weren’t any significant differences in heart risk, either.
In fact, major markers of vascular health remained the same across all groups. Plus, there weren’t any significant differences in lipoprotein levels, inflammation levels, or systolic blood pressure.
Additionally, there was no increase in any adverse events with supplemental calcium—minus a slight (and predictable) increase in the incidence of nausea and constipation.
So what do these findings mean? You might be tempted to conclude that we can stop fearing calcium—at last! (Not that I ever did—nor did I ever stop recommending calcium to my patients, considering how vital it is for your bones and so many other aspects of your health.)
But as usual, when it comes to mainstream conversations about supplements, you’d be mistaken…
Double standards on full display
Obviously, the powers-that-be simply couldn’t take this news without a fight. You see, the study only went on for one year—clearly not long enough to make any definitive recommendations.
How long do you think Big Pharma’s trials last? And by that, I mean before a drug is released—not all the “beta testing” that uses unsuspecting patients as guinea pigs, and relies on foolish doctors to prescribe the latest medication on the market without thinking twice.
The naysayers suggest that one year is too short a period to expect that things could change substantially in our blood vessels—but they’re wrong. Oxidative stress occurs instantly. And it can be seen instantly, too.
Statins were tested for the same length of time—and those are practically in our water supply.
Yet, some dimwits are calling for a five- to ten-year study. Well, guess what? There are several taking place as I type this. And the one that deals with long-term women’s health issues hasn’t found a single problem with calcium supplementation at all.
Even if you were to buy into the risks, the supposed threat of heart attack would kick in early—within one to two years—after calcium supplementation starts. That’s a window well within the scope of this latest study.
And what about the fact that milk actually interferes with calcium absorption? (Which is one reason why it’s not my favorite source—that honor goes to dark leafy greens instead.)
So, my recommendations remain the same. Take 500 mg of calcium in tablet form every day. And take at least 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 along with it. (Though, as I often report, you can safely take up to 10,000 IU with regular monitoring. And during these cold, dark days of winter, when sun exposure is minimal, 10,000 IU might be necessary.)
The bottom line here is that there are just too many variables for anyone to be writing off calcium supplements as unnecessary—much less dangerous. And the powers-that-be are using their pulpit to make proclamations that can rob people of their health.
They really need to be called out on their nonsense—then told to just plain shut up.
P.S. There are many natural ways to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—including heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. I outline these drug-free approaches in my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. To learn more about this online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Calcium in Food or Supplement Is Safe in Postmenopausal Women.” Medscape Medical News, 09/24/19. (medscape.com/viewarticle/918902)