When it comes to its role in heart and bone health, calcium’s been controversial. And recent research that found that a high intake may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (but not stroke and fracture) in women adds fuel to the fire.
Researcher Sung Hye Kong, MD, a resident physician in the Department of Internal Medicine of Seoul National University Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, wanted to focus his study on a population with low calcium intake, as most previous research focused on people with a high intake of the mineral. His team analyzed data from 2,199 men and 2,704 women over 50 years of age without previous cardiovascular disease and stroke collected through an ongoing prospective cohort study that began in 2001.
Study subjects reported their food intake in periodic food frequency questionnaires. Researchers collected information about their cardiovascular disease, stroke and fractures during interviews and examinations every two years. In their statistical analyses, the authors made adjustments for age, body mass index, vegetable and fruit intake, protein and sodium intake, physical activity, smoking and drinking, history of hypertension and diabetes, and total energy from the diet. They also adjusted for menopausal status and hormone replacement therapy in women.
The results revealed that among women in a population with a normally low calcium diet, consuming more calcium was significantly associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, but not significantly associated with risk of stroke and fracture. The research was presented at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endrocrine Society in Boston, and noted on sciencedaily.com.