Consumers should purchase only those calcium supplements labeled as having been tested for lead content, according to a report last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Some commercially available calcium supplements contain lead at levels not unlike those of 10 years ago and that, over time, could pose a hazard to health.
Florida researchers analyzed the lead content of 21 non-prescription calcium carbonate supplements. Eight of the supplements had detectable lead levels. Taken at the dose of 1500 mg/day, lead levels in some of the supplements reached 2 to 3 micrograms per day, nearly half of the current absolute dietary lead limit of 6 micrograms (mcg) per day. For patients with kidney disease who require high doses of calcium, the daily exposure could range from 10 to 20 mcg/day.
Some experts refute the idea that the lead content in calcium supplements represents a public health concern. They say that calcium protects a person from absorbing lead and that the calcium sources available today are generally very safe.
So donÃƒÂt stop taking your calcium supplement-- it's probably fair to say that for the short term, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Instead make sure you buy your calcium pills from a reputable company that follows Good Manufacturing Practices (look for this on the label).
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