Taking a calcium supplement of up to 1,000 milligrams per day can help women live longer, according to a new study to be published this summer in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
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 from 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 longitudinal cohort study monitored the health of 9,033 Canadians between 1995 and 2007. During that period, 1,160 participants died. Although the data showed women who took calcium supplements had a lower mortality risk, there was no benefit for men. The study also found no conclusive evidence that vitamin D had an impact on mortality.
The study revealed that higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source of the calcium. The same benefits were seen when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements.
Source: Accepted for publication in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 2013.
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