In addition to strengthening our bones, moderate calcium supplementation may help women live longer.
Calcium, an essential nutrient for bone health, is commonly found in dairy products as well as vitamins. Although calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health, past studies have linked calcium supplements to heart disease risk.
Researchers analyzing data from the large-scale Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) sought to clarify this issue and found moderate doses of calcium supplements had a beneficial effect in women.
"Our study found daily use of calcium supplements was associated with a lower risk of death among women," said the study's lead author, David Goltzman, MD, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. "The benefit was seen for women who took doses of up to 1,000 mg per day, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D."
The study monitored the health of 9,000 Canadians, about 6,000 women and 3,000 men, for 10 years. A variety of factors, including supplements, were studied to see if calcium had an impact on death. The researchers looked at total mortality (not just cardiac events), and discovered a total overall lower rate of death from all causes in women who took calcium supplements. There was no statistical benefit for men.
"Higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source of the calcium," Goltzman said. "That is, the same benefits were seen when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements."
The above story is based on the May 22, 2013 news release by Endocrine Society.
The research has been published online before print in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM):
Langsetmo L et al. Calcium and Vitamin D Intake and Mortality: Results from the Canadian Multi-centre Osteoporosis Study. JCEM May 23, 2013, doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1516