Calcium supplements: why they're under fire from cardiologists

Many women take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis, or brittle bones. But the pills have come under fire recently for potentially increasing the risk for heart problems.

Dr. Jason Bradley, a cardiologist, explains.

"The reason we think calcium has to do with increased risk for heart disease is blockage in your arteries, or arteriosclerosis, can have some calcium component in addition to cholesterol build-up. So, additional calcium supplementation that isn't deposited in your bones, may be deposited in your coronary arteries and provide blockage that may lead to a heart attack."

Dr. Bradley also says many people don't realize how much calcium they're getting if they take a multi-vitamin, something for energy, something specifically for women or men's health, and a calcium pill, or even an injection every six months. He says all that could add up to way more than you need.

So, Dr. Bradley's advice is the best calcium comes from the diet, dairy and dark leafy vegetables. But, if you're taking supplements, count them all to make sure you're taking no more than 1,400 milligrams a day. And of course, discuss with your doctor your individual needs.

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