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Bone Health Supplements Don't Increase Coronary Calcium

Postmenopausal women taking calcium-vitamin D supplements not at higher risk

FRIDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women who take calcium plus vitamin D supplements for bone health do not increase their levels of coronary artery calcium (CAC) and increase their cardiovascular disease risk as a result, according to a study published online June 14 in Menopause.

JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used computerized tomography to measure CAC in 754 women, aged 50 to 59 years, participating in the Women's Health Initiative who had taken either calcium supplements (1,000 mg/d) plus vitamin D3 (400 IU/d) or placebo for an average of seven years.

The researchers found that the CAC scores in the two groups were similar, with no indications that calcium and vitamin D supplementation had increased calcium deposits in the women's coronary arteries. This was found to be the case even among women who, on their own, were taking additional doses of calcium and/or vitamin D outside of the study (in some cases, above 1,800 mg/d for calcium and 1,000 IU/d for vitamin D).

"These findings indicate that moderate supplementation with calcium and vitamin D does not affect CAC levels in postmenopausal women. These findings may be reassuring to women who are concerned about a potentially adverse effect of these supplements on coronary artery calcification," the authors write.

One study author is affiliated with AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline provided the calcium/vitamin D pills for the trial.

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