by Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.D./N.
A new study published in this week’s British Medical Journal found that women who take in more than 1400mg of calcium a day have a markedly higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease. (Women rarely get this much calcium from diet alone; there’s almost always a supplement involved.) This lines up with a 2010 study which found a higher rate of heart attacks in older women taking high-dose calcium supplements.
Ladies, I know we’re all worried about osteoporosis. I also know from personal experience that many doctors and gynecologists are still advising their older female patients to take 1000 to 1200mg of supplemental calcium a day. With all due respect to my medical colleagues, this is not good advice. You can’t make up for the calcium you failed to get during your teens and 20s by doubling up in your 40s and 50s.
Your goal should be to get a total of 1000 to 1200mg of calcium per day. If you’re eating a healthy diet, you really shouldn’t need more than 250 – 500mg of supplemental calcium. You may not need any at all.
Calcium supplement pills from Shutterstock