A recent report from the Journal of the American Heart Association cautions that calcium supplements may be detrimental to heart health. The report analyzed 10 years of medical tests on cardiac patients and found that those who took calcium supplements were more likely to have an excess of plaque buildup in their arteries. The report indicated that participants who received calcium through food did not have an increased risk of developing heart disease. I often see patients that are taking multiple supplements and have the “more is better!” mentality, but that is not always true.
Although calcium is important, is a supplement really necessary? Can you get the recommended amount of calcium through food? Absolutely! Our bodies respond to and utilize nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in food far better than those found in supplements. An added bonus of achieving calcium needs through food are the other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals the food naturally contains. As seen in the table below, many breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium, so this combined with milk may help you quickly achieve a good portion of calcium needs!
- Men and women 19-50 years of age have a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1,000 mg calcium daily.
- Men ages 51-70 years are recommended to have 1,000 mg daily and women 1,200 mg daily. 1,200 mg/day becomes the recommended amount for both men and women ages 71 and older.
Resource: National Institutes of Health