Beacon Transcript – A new study has shown that calcium supplements may actually lead to heart problems whilst food-ingested calcium may actually reduce them.
Calcium is very important for our organism as it ensures, amongst others, a stronger bone structure. However, most people need a higher amount of calcium than the one produced by the body and as such turn to either supplements or calcium-rich aliments.
The results of a new study, which spanned over a decade, goes to show that the way in which the element is ingested is just as important as its quantity, as more supplements are not always better, in fact, they could be worse.
The research, which included over 2,700 adults aged 45 – 84 years old, based its results on the subjects’ health status after more than a decade following specific dietary habits. The initial stage of the study involved taking a CT scan which would determine if any of the patients exhibited signs of calcium-containing plaques in their arteries with approximately 1,500 people being found plaque-free.
The next stage involved dividing the people into groups according to their dietary habits and supplement intake, which generated five categories, and then analyze the subjects’ evolution over a period of ten years and conclude the study with a final CT scan.
Scientists looked in both the initial and final CT scan for signs of calcium containing plaques in the coronary arteries, which are the heart’s arteries, and whose presence usually marks an increased chance of heart problems, such as a heart attack.
The results showed that people who consumed a daily quantity of fewer than 400 milligrams were 27 percent more likely to develop calcium plaques as compared to the subjects who registered the highest intake per day, over 1,400 milligrams.
Also, the members of the highest intake group that acquired the calcium through natural alimentation registered the lowest risk of coronary artery plaques.
As forty-six percent of the study group subjects relied on supplements, it was also shown that no matter the calcium intake levels, the people that relied on such means revealed a 22 percent higher chance of developing plaques.
A possible cause may be the fact the large consumption of calcium supplements could lead to a blood vessel calcification determined by the temporal increase of the element in blood levels. Another could be the body’s inability to process right away the calcium quantity contained by the supplements.
As the study subjects themselves reported their calcium intake and the values could have varied, researchers cannot point to a direct connection between the use of supplements and the appearance or increase of the calcium plaques.
Still, as the results go to show, a good, calcium-rich meal may prove to be the healthiest alternative and people should always consult a doctor before taking supplements so that the right quantity for them can be established.
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