Growing up, I’m sure your mother, like mine, urged you to drink milk to help keep your bones strong. While it’s true your bones do need calcium and Vitamin D, it is also possible to get too much. Nobody is at risk of overdosing on Calcium because of the milk they drink, but women who take calcium supplements to slow osteoporosis, could very well be at risk.
According to the Heidelberg study, a long-term cancer and nutrition study of 24,000 women in Germany, those who took a combination of vitamins, minerals, and calcium tablets were 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not take supplements. This data is puzzling researchers, since previous studies suggested that supplements could reduce the risk of heart problems, obesity, and diabetes. This new study had more participants and was done over a much longer period of time though, causing some to change their minds about the benefits of supplements. In fact, the German study showed only a 10% benefit when it came to women with osteoporosis who took the calcium supplements. They also found that diets high in calcium rich foods did not seem to increase the risk of heart problems, but the calcium tablets did. They believe this may be due to the way the different forms are absorbed. When you take supplements, you get a lot of the vitamin or mineral at once, while working it into your diet allows your body to absorb smaller amounts throughout the day.
In other words, mom scores again; you should be eating and drinking your calcium. And don’t forget about Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Vitamin D comes from the diet and the skin. Vitamin D production by the skin is dependent on exposure to sunlight. So, take a brisk walk in the sun and perhaps, one would not need to overdose on calcium tablets alone. If you are suffering from osteoporosis and your physician has recommended calcium tablets though, you may want to speak with them about taking several smaller doses throughout the day or lessening your dose while upping your dietary intake. As usual, maintaining our health the good old fashioned way turns out to be the best strategy.