Calcium supplements are not required and could be toxic
10 September 2010
Although I advocate the use of some supplements, I do NOT recommend calcium supplements.
A new study shows that high vitamin A levels and low vitamin D levels could be a risk factor for osteoporosis (1).
Calcium supplements do not prevent the risk of fractures, and because there's some evidence that they cause cardiovascular events, it is more prudent to obtain calcium from food sources, and avoid these supplements. Patients can opt for lactose-free milk, yogurt, kale, salmon, and a host of other natural high-calcium foods, and supplement with vitamin D (with some healthy fats so it can be absorbed). Vitamin A supplements should be avoided.
Some evidence shows that vitamin K can prevent fractures, and magnesium is important to assimilate vitamin D and thus to strengthen bones.
Thus, although other research is required to prove or disprove their safety, the evidence shows that calcium supplements are an unnecessary risk, and that other nutrients are required to prevent fractures.
1. Mata-Granados JM, Cuenca-Acevedo R, Luque de Castro MD, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and high serum levels of vitamin A increase the risk of osteoporosis evaluated by Quantitative Ultrasound Measurements (QUS) in postmenopausal Spanish women. Clin Biochem ; 2010 Sep;43(13-14):1064-8.
Competing interests: None declared
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