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There is some evidence that calcium supplements can increase the risk of heart attacks. Calcium supplements are usually taken to treat or prevent bone disease, such as osteoporosis.
A recent analysis of peer-reviewed, double-blind studies concluded that calcium supplements increased the risk of heart disease, particularly in healthy, postmenopausal women. Other studies have said calcium supplements don't increase the risk.
In general, more research is needed before doctors know how calcium supplements affect your overall heart attack risk. What is known is that calcium from food sources, such as dairy products and leafy green vegetables, isn't a concern.
Taking calcium — with vitamin D — does provide a benefit for those who have too little calcium or bone loss. As with any health issue, it's important to talk to your doctor to determine what's most appropriate in your case. Check with your doctor before taking any type of supplement to determine if there's a need.
Rekha Mankad, M.D.
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