Monday, August 16, 2010

Now CALCIUM is Dangerous??

Have you heard about the latest study that showed CALCIUM supplements may increase your risk of heart attacks? What's next, finding out Vitamin C makes you sick? Okay, I'm being facetious here, but let's talk about this news from a couple different angles.
First of all, here is what the study from the BMJ (British Medical Journal) says. They looked at a bunch of studies with a total of roughly 12,000 patients and assessed whether those people who took calcium supplements of 500mg or more (without Vitamin D) had more or less heart attacks compared with those who took placebo pills. There were a total of 296 people who suffered heart attacks- 166 on calcium supplements, and 130 on placebo pills. Does this mean placebos CAUSED 140 heart attacks? NO. Does it mean that calcium supplementation by itself CAUSED heart attacks? No- but it does show "an association" with heart attacks, one that may or may not be present if you add Vitamin D, which plays a role in calcium absorption, bone health, and cardiac protection.
There is NO association of heart attacks with increased purely dietary calcium intake (meaning high calcium intake through eating dairy and other calcium-containing foods). What does this tell me? Once again, we are spending a zillion dollars to PROVE THAT GETTING OUR NUTRITION FROM WHOLE FOODS, RATHER THAN SUPPLEMENTAL PILLS, IS BETTER FOR OUR HEALTH.
We've got to stop looking for a quick fix, and start improving our diets (MORE fruits and veggies, less of everything else) and increasing our exercise. Common sense AND scientific studies have proven this over and over.
In the meanwhile, realize that medicine is constantly evolving. What we preach as doctrine today may be heresy tomorrow. Look at what we have recommended for positioning of newborn babies in the last couple decades as an example- first we said on their stomachs (so they don't choke if they spit up), then their sides, and now their backs. Each time, we are SURE we have the answer. Remember that doctors used to recommend smoking to relax- how crazy is THAT?
BOTTOM LINE: Calcium supplements are unlikely to be your greatest risk factor for heart disease- talk with your doctor about your total health picture before you decide whether or not to take ANY supplement!

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