Clinical Updates
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Calcium Supplements
Calcium Supplements and Macular Degeneration -- (3/23/2019) Two large studies have sought to determine if there is an association between calcium supplementation and the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). See what they found in the What It Does section of the Calcium Supplements Review. Also see our Top Picks among calcium supplements.
Caution With Calcium & Medications -- (11/27/2018) Which supplement was most likely to cause drug interactions for seniors in a recent study? Calcium. Learn more about potential drug interactions with calcium in the Concerns and Cautions section of the Calcium Supplements Review.
Don't Take Calcium With Thyroid Hormone -- (10/29/2018) A study showed negative effects of taking calcium too soon after taking levothyroxine (Synthroid). For details on how to safely take this combination, see the update in the Concerns and Cautions section of the Calcium Supplements Review. (Also see our Top Picks for calcium.)
Calcium and Colon Polyp Risk -- (3/2/2018) A large study evaluated the effects of taking calcium and/or vitamin D on the risk of developing precancerous colorectal polyps in people with previous polyps. While there was no effect during the study, a follow up study is now showing much higher rates of polyps among those who had taken certain supplements. Get the details in the What It Does section of the Calcium Supplements Review.
Stroke Risk with Calcium -- (5/24/2017) A new study shows that high-dose calcium supplements may double the risk of stroke in men and women. The risk of heart attack is also increased, as shown in other studies. However, there are ways to take calcium without this risk and still get bone health benefits. For details, see the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Heart Concern With Calcium Supplements -- (10/13/2016) A study of American men and women found an increased risk of coronary artery calcification (atherosclerosis) among those who used calcium supplements compared to those who did not, despite the fact that higher total daily calcium intake was associated with a decreased risk of calcification. Other studies point in a similar direction, as described in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Calcium Supplements & Risk of Dementia -- (8/20/2016) Taking calcium supplements is associated with an increased risk of dementia in certain elderly women, according to a new study. Get the details in the "Cautions and Concerns” section of the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Headlines Saying "Vitamin D and Calcium Don't Prevent Colon Cancer" Are Not Quite Right -- (10/17/2015) A study released this week found that vitamin D and calcium supplements did not reduce the risk of developing colorectal polyps in people prone to them. A closer look at the study, however, suggests that this may not be true for everyone. Get the details in the update in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >> and the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Calcium Supplements Increase Kidney Stone Growth -- (10/14/2015) Calcium supplementation is known to increase the risk of kidney stones in postmenopausal women. A new study shows that taking calcium nearly doubles the monthly growth of such stones in women prone to getting them. The study also assessed the effects of vitamin D supplementation. Details are found in the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Too Much Calcium for Some? -- (6/20/2014) A new study found that supplementing with even moderate amounts of calcium may cause abnormally high calcium levels in the urine (a risk factor for kidney stones) of some postmenopausal women, even when total calcium intake doesn't exceed the recommended daily allowance. Get the details in the update to the Calcium Supplements Review (Including Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Magnesium) >>   
Caution with Calcium for Women with High Cholesterol -- (11/3/2013) A study in which women with high cholesterol  were given a daily calcium supplement showed a negative effect in those who were post-menopausal.  Get the details, including the calcium dosage used, in the updated Calcium Supplements Review>>
Calcium During Breast Cancer Treatment -- (9/1/2013) A recent analysis of clinical studies concluded that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D during breast cancer treatment does not help maintain bone mineral density, although often given for this purpose. Calcium and vitamin D may certainly play other important roles. For more details, as well as test results and comparisons for 33 calcium supplements, see the updated Calcium Supplements Review >>
Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Fractures -- (7/7/2013) A large study among post-menopausal women receiving hormone therapy showed a much lower rate of hip fracture among those who received a specific calcium/vitamin D supplement compared to those who did not get the supplement. For details about the supplement, as well as test results and comparisons for 13 calcium/vitamin D supplements, see the updated Calcium Supplements Review >>
Calcium May Extend Life or Shorten It, Depending on Amount -- (6/2/2013) The right amount of calcium from supplements may reduce the risk of dying over a period of time for some people, says a new study. But too much calcium does not help. In fact, too much may hurt. Be sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium. Get the details (and our tests of calcium supplements) in the updated Calcium Supplements Review >>. (For a quick summary about calcium dosage, be sure to read the section "What You Need to Know About Calcium Supplements.")
Calcium Risk for Women -- (2/24/2013) A long-term study found that women with high calcium intakes from their diets were 40% more likely to die during the study than women with moderate calcium intake. Worse, the risk of death was 157% higher for women with high dietary calcium intake who also took a calcium supplement. What should you do? Get the details in the recent update to the Calcium Supplements Review and read our latest recommendations on calcium intake in the What You Need to Know section.)
Risk from Too Much Calcium from Supplements -- (2/17/2013) A major study found that adequate intake of calcium from the diet and other sources was associated with a lower risk of men and women dying from cardiovascular disease over the 12-year period of the study. HOWEVER getting over a certain amount of calcium from supplements was associated with 20% higher risk of men dying from cardiovascular disease. For more information, see the recent update to the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart attack -- (5/28/2012) A recent study found a much higher risk of heart attack among people who used calcium supplements than among those who did not. Increased calcium from food was not associated with increased risk. Some other recent studies have raised similar concerns about calcium supplementation. What does this mean for you? See our update to the Calcium Supplements Review for more information. More >>
Women-Vitamin Study - Key Points -- (10/12/2011) You may have heard this week about a new study which found a higher risk of death among women who used certain supplements. It’s a complicated study, but we've summarized some key findings. Bear in mind that only white women ages 55 to 69 were enrolled in the study and they were followed for 22 years.

Those taking calcium supplements had a 3.8% reduced risk of death. The calcium benefit ended, however, when taking more than 900 mg per day from supplements. It's worth noting that experts suggest many older women who take calcium supplements may not need to -- see the Calcium Supplement Review for more.

The mineral most strongly associated with an increased risk of death was iron, which showed a risk increase of 3.9% -- and the risk increased as the dose increased, particularly over 50 mg per day. However, the study grouped dosages of under 50 mg together, making it hard to determine the risk of low dosages of iron, such as those in many multivitamins. However, there is very little reason why a postmenopausal woman should be taking iron -- see the Iron Supplement Review for more.

Although not as statistically meaningful, other supplements were associated with the following increases in the risk of death during the study: multivitamins (2.4%), vitamin B6 (4.1%), folic acid (5.9%), magnesium (3.6%), zinc (3.0%), and copper (18.0%). An abstract of the study is online.

The bottom line: Don't take a supplement you don't need. If you want to know how much of each vitamin and mineral you need from your total diet and how much is too much, see our chart at
Kidney Stones Linked to Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation -- (7/20/2011) A recent report showed that women taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement over a period of several years were 17% more likely to develop kidney stones than women who did not take the supplement. reviewed this study. While the findings are correct, there seems to be no reason to give up vitamin D supplements and a small concern with calcium supplementation. Get the details in the update to the Calcium Supplements Review >>. The new information is also found in an update in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>.
Calcium and Vitamin D for Girls -- (2/2/2011) In a recently published study, girls ages 9 to 13 were given, twice a day, a supplement with calcium and vitamin D. After 6 months, significant increases were found in bone density and strength compared to girls who received placebo. Get the amounts and types of calcium and vitamin D taken, as well as more information, in the Review of Calcium Supplements or the Review of Vitamin D Supplements.




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