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Nov. 2, 2016

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Another study shows link to poorer cardiovascular health from the pills, but can't prove cause-and-effect

New research suggests that dietary calcium in the form of supplements, but not calcium-rich foods, might have a harmful impact on the heart.

The study couldn’t prove the supplements help cause heart trouble, but its authors believe the finding should give consumers pause for thought.

“When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better,” said study lead author Dr. Erin Michos.

“But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system,” Michos said in a news release from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

She is associate director of preventive cardiology at the school’s Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.

About 43 percent of American adults now take a supplement that includes calcium, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. And more than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

In the new study, Michos’ team analyzed data from 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 adults in a U.S. government-funded heart disease study. Participants ranged in age from 45 to 85, and they were questioned on their daily diet and the supplements they took.

Participants also underwent CT scans aimed at measuring calcification of their arteries — a known heart risk factor.

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