Bone Health vs. Heart Health: A New Calcium Dilemma

Who would have ever thought that we would have to make a choice between saving our bones and saving our hearts?  For most, taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement seems reasonable to prevent osteoporosis, but according to a recent study, the calcium supplements we take may increase our cardiovascular risks.

A new analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation Study has determined that it may not be the dose of the supplement, but the fact that the supplement is being taken in the first place.  This analysis found a link that showed an increased risk of heart attack with those who take the supplement, independent of the amount taken.  Calcium and vitamin D supplementation acutely increases blood calcium, causes vascular calcification and alters blood clotting mechanisms.  All of these consequences may lead to carotid artery plaque thickness, aortic calcification, heart attack and death.

So is it really a choice between bone health and heart health?  It may in fact be, but further investigation is needed.  In the meantime, try getting calcium and vitamin D from your food instead of supplementation.  Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and kale.  Foods rich in vitamin D are limited, but include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.  Also, read food labels.  Many foods are now fortified with both calcium and vitamin D.


  • vitamin D – despite growing evidence that vitamin D makes a vital contribution to good health as we age, it’s thought that more than 1/10 of older adults now have vitamin D levels associated with higher risks for various diseases, and that few have optimum levels. Since there are vitamin D receptors all over the body in the muscles, joints, brain, and other organs low vitamin D levels have a systemic effect they are also linked with colon cancer, breast cancer, a weakened immune system, and poorer brain function.

  • I’m glad to see this article—this is what my healthcare practitioner has been saying for years, and it scares me when most mainstream media articles tout calcium supplementation for every woman. I have never taken calcium regularly, I cured my osteopenia with testosterone optimization, Vitamin D3 and regular weight training. If anyone would like a list of resources to help you find a compounding pharmacy/physician in your area who works with bioidentical hormones, please feel free to drop me a line at and I will get th list right out to you. Hormone optimization for me went way beyond curing hot flashes, hormones affect every system in the body, and the bioidentical hormones I take are far safer than a handful of toxic medications. Best wishes to all for hormonal health!

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