Blood Calcium May Be Linked to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Calcium and Sudden Cardovascular ArrestA recent study has found patients have an increased risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) when they have a lower serum Calcium Level.  The risk of SCA was found to be over 2 times higher in patients with the lowest quartile of serum Calcium when compared with patients in the highest quartile of serum Calcium levels.

In the lowest quartile, participants had less the 8.95 mg/dl (Milligrams/deciliter) of serum Calcium.  In the highest quartile group, levels over 9.55 mg/dl of serum Calcium were seen.  Data for the study was taken from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study (Oregon SUDS).  This study is the first of its kind to identify an association between low serum Calcium levels as measured prior to a SCA event and the elevated risk of this adverse event.  This was deemed important since many of the individuals who experience a SCA are not considered as a high risk for this type of catastrophic event under the usual guidelines used to evaluate risk.

There were however some limitation seen in the study findings.  Some of the participants with lower serum Calcium levels also had other issues which may have added to their risk factors of SCA.  Additionally the study was designed to be an observational one and therefore a causal mechanism could not be concluded.

Researchers agreed that additional study was needed.




Vitamin D and Calcium May Reduce Onset of Early Menopause

Calcium Vitamin D Early MenopauseA new study shows a reduction in the risk of early menopause when high doses of dietary Vitamin D and Calcium are taken.  Early menopause is associated with higher risks for Osteoporosis, Early Cognitive Decline, Cardiovascular Disease and other health issues.

Over 116,000 female US registered nurses participated in this study.  Individuals between the ages of 25 and 42 in 1989 participated in this study and responded to a questionnaire.  Intakes of Vitamin D and Calcium from both supplements and food were measured every four years and medical conditions and behaviors were measured every two years. Over 2000 women reported having natural menopause before 45 years of age.  Incidents of possible confounding factors were accounted for when evaluating the relationship between the intake of Calcium and Vitamin D and incidents of early menopause.

A 17% lower risk of early menopause was seen in the women who had the highest intake of Vitamin D when compared with the women who had the lowest intake of Vitamin D.  A “borderline significantly lower risk” of early menopause was seen in the women with the highest intake of Calcium when compared to the women with the lowest intake of Calcium.

Further studies are now being undertaken.



Analysis Finds No Safety Concerns For Calcium Supplements and Heart Health

calciumA new study finds no associations between supplementing with Calcium and increase risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Over 6,200 women and men participated in the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) cohort study. Participants ranged in age from 45 years old to 84 years old. Data was collected from over 6 sites within the United States.   Analysis of the data from this study showed no impact of calcium supplementation on CVD event risks or heart attacks.  Researchers identified 208 heart attacks and 641 CVD events over 10 years of monitoring this cohort.  However, no association between these events and calcium intake were observed.

The safety of the mineral Calcium had been called into question recently.  Even though there is a clear benefit for Calcium and bone health, certain medical journals reported adverse cardiovascular effects caused by too much intake of calcium in different populations leading to fears about Calcium supplementation.  Plaque that forms in diseased arteries is mostly made up of Calcium.  Some researchers speculated that was directly related to spiking blood Calcium levels with supplementation.  This study supports the safety of this mineral.

Osteoporosis, often described as a silent killer effects over 9 million Americans according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.  48 million Americans have low bone mass which increases there risk for Osteoporosis.  Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation could save over $1.08 billion per year in healthcare costs.


Calcium Linked to Reduced Breast Cancer Rates

calcium-element-JPEGA new meta-analysis has found a slight reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer when calcium rich foods like cheese and milk as well as supplements are consumed daily.

Data from over 870,000 women was collected from 11 individual surveys.  At the time of the studies, which were all prospective, none of the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  The amount of calcium ingested daily was determined through food frequency questionnaires and at least one 24 hour food diary.  The participants were monitored for at least seven years.  During the monitoring period over 26,000 of the participants were given a diagnosis of breast cancer.  The women with higher intakes of calcium in comparison to those with lower intakes of calcium had an overall risk of breast cancer of .92 which suggested a reduced risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer of about 8% for the women with higher calcium intake.

Further sub-group meta-analysis showed the protective effects of calcium were strongest in women diagnosed with breast cancer before they transitioned into menopause.

Researcher also found a dose effect of calcium, in other words, for each 300 mg increase in calcium, either from food or supplementation, there was an associated 2% reduction in the total risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Further studies are needed since participants were called on to remember what they had eaten which oftentimes is not a reliable source of data.

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