To Calcium or not to Calcium?
my personal choice and rationale
What to do? Calcium supplements have been linked to a 30% increased risk of heart attacks. You can die from complications of a hip fracture. You can die from a heart attack.
I don't drink enough milk or eat enough dark leafy greens or salmon bones to get my daily 1200 mg. calcium quota. I only have so many calories I can eat per day without ballooning up to "Oprah" size. I don't choose to use them on lots of skim milk. It has been my habit to take Tums to make up the difference. I had my husband taking Tums, too, because he takes acid-blockers for reflux, which decrease calcium absorption. That is, until last week.
I was impressed with the New Zealand study linking heart attacks and calcium supplements because it has the power of having studied over 60,000 people. I also searched Medline and found a Scandinavian study that got similar results. One heartening sidelight is that calcium from foods does not seem to have this negative effect.
I had a bone density study that showed my bones to be stronger than average (+2SD). I don't have osteoporosis risk factors - smoking, small stature and weight, family history, early menopause, inactivity, etc. I decided I can do without the calcium supplements and my strapping husband can, too. We've continued our vitamin D3 1000 IU per day (see my D hub) to get the most out of the calcium we do eat.
I have a low risk of heart attack, too, so this was not the easiest decision. My cholesterol, sugar, weight, and blood pressure are good. I don't smoke. I usually floss and brush. My non-smoking family members don't keel over at an early age from heart attacks. I'm female. I'm not yet over 60 years old. Since the last is a risk factor I hope to develop, I'm nixing the calcium.
Well, I hope my story has given you a good basis to discuss your use of calcium supplements intelligently with your doc.