Last edited on June 18, 2012 (I just added the scientific explanation of why this is).
This latest news on calcium supplements, in my opinion, is that people are taking waaaay too much in supplement form, the chewable calcium supplements are so tasty, people are eating two or three 500mg dose, plus eating calcium rich foods such as dairy products. Or if they are not eating those calcium chews, they are taking commercial brand 1,000mg supplements. It's too much! An imbalance is being created!
My laymen's explanation, or theory (I have no scientific or medical background! So make of it what you will) is that calcium is a muscle constrictor. So people are constricting all their muscles with excess calcium, which includes the heart! The heart is your most precious muscle that we rely on for our very existence! Over half of all Americans are deficient in magnesium, which is a muscle relaxer. It relaxes your muscles, thereby relaxing your heart muscle. That's my unscientific reason why the latest studies show increased risk of heart attack for those taking calcium supplements :)
An actual explanation of why this is: from Nutrition Almanac, 6th edition by John D. Kirschmann and Nutrition Search, Inc. CALCIUM (page 57): "Too much calcium can interfere with the functions of the nervous and muscular systems. An excess amount in the blood causes calcium rigor, which is characterized by muscles that contract and cannot relax...Too much calcium will decrease the body's absorption of zinc and iron...If calcium intake is high, magnesium levels also need to be high. Too little magnesium results in calcium accumulation in the muscles, heart, and kidneys." MAGNESIUM (page 69-70): "Magnesium deficiency is thought to be closely related to coronary heart disease, including myocardial necrosis. An inadequate supply of this mineral may result in the formation of clots in the heart and brain and may contribute to calcium deposits in the kidneys, blood vessels, and heart. Heart failure resulting from fibrillation and lesions in the small arteries is linked to a deficiency of magnesium...When there is a deficiency of magnesium, stress increases the risk of cardiovascular damage, including hypertension, constriction and occlusion of blood vessels, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death."
Here's an exerpt from the article which talks about the latest calcium study. The whole thing can be read at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523200752.htm
But when the analysis looked at vitamin/mineral supplements, it found that those who took calcium supplements regularly were 86% more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn't use any supplements.
And this risk increased further among those who used only calcium supplements. They were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who didn't take any supplements.
The authors conclude: "This study suggests that increasing calcium intake from diet might not confer significant cardiovascular benefits, while calcium supplements, which might raise [heart attack] risk, should be taken with caution."
Here's another article from a few days ago: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-06-07/panel-vitamin-d-recommendations/55549414/1
So what do you do? Take a supplement? Don't take a supplement? Here's what I do:
Each day, I calculate how much calcium I am getting through foods (whole grains, beans, seeds, green veggies, almonds, etc.) and beverages(I drink 1 to 2 cups of calcium-fortified almond milk per day, 450mg calcium per cup).
Then, if I haven't consumed calcium-rich foods or just one cup of almond milk, or let's say I'm out of almond milk, so I've had none that day, I then take a low-dose calcium/magnesium/Vitamin D supplement that is in the correct proportions (currently taking Vitamin Shoppe brand). Look for reputable brands that offer low-dose calcium with the proper ratio of magnesium. Commercial brands like Caltrate do not supply enough magnesium.
If I feel like I really haven't gotten enough calcium, I take one or two more low-dose supplements throughout the day. If I feel like I've consumed more than enough calcium, which is actually most days, I do not take my supplement that day.
I also take a separate magnesium supplement, so that my total magnesium per day is around 500mg, more if my muscle spasm is acting up. I also take a separate Vitamin D supplement, as I do not spend much time outside in the sun.
Here are a couple brands I've used. They offer low-doses of calcium with the proper 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium:
Vitamin Shoppe Calcium Citrate + Magnesium & Vitamin D. Click on "Read the Product Label" to look at the ingredients (2 capsules give 333mg calcium citrate, the most absorbable form of calcium, 189mg magnesium, and 204 IU Vitamin D--I occasionally take one or two of these depending on my food intake of the day. You can see just how low of a dose this is!) http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=VS-1087
Jarrow Formulas Bone-Up Superior Calcium Formula. This formula is in my opinion, superior! Click on "ingredients" and you'll see why. It has ALL the ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS FOR BONE BUILDING, NOT JUST CALCIUM! There's Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, and Boron! Also, 6 capsules equals 1,000mg, so you can definitely tailor it to your calcium needs by taking just one or two or three per day!: http://www.drugstore.com/jarrow-formulas-bone-up-superior-calcium-formula/qxp270976
READ MORE ABOUT CALCIUM AT: http://thedoctorstv.com/GreenFish/posts/14360-Calcium-Does-Not-Build-Strong-Bones-