Taking a moderate dose of calcium supplement every day can help women live longer, a study has found.
Up to 1,000 mg of calcium consumed daily in supplement form is associated with a longer lifespan in women, according to the findings of research into the health of more than 9,000 people in Canada between 1995 and 2007.
Although the data showed women who took calcium supplements had a lower mortality risk, there was no statistical benefit for men, according to the research.
Higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source - dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements - the study, accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found.
The findings come after past studies have linked calcium supplements, taken by millions of elderly people and post-menopausal women to prevent bone thinning, to heart disease risk.
Study lead author Dr David Goltzman, of McGill University in Montreal, said: “Our study found daily use of calcium supplements was associated with a lower risk of death among women.
“The benefit was seen for women who took doses of up to 1,000 mg per day, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D.”
He added: “Higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source of the calcium.
“That is, the same benefits were seen when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements.”
The study said: “Our analysis showed that total calcium intake among women was more likely to be beneficial than harmful, and that the same was true of calcium intake from dairy sources, non-dairy sources, and supplements.
“In fact, we observed that supplemental calcium intake up to 1,000 mg a day among women was associated with statistically significant decreased mortality, although the results were inconclusive for supplement intake exceeding 1,000 mg a day.”
A study published last May found calcium supplements may double the risk of having a heart attack.
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