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Study backs CVD safety of calcium and vitamin D supplements

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UK researchers have presented a new study that supports the cardiovascular safety of calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

They found no link between calcium supplementation, with or without vitamin D, and hospital admissions or mortality due to cardiovascular events.

“Our results provide reassurance that such supplementation appears safe”

Nicholas Harvey

The study was based on analysis of the UK Biobank, comprising 502,664 men and women aged 40-69 years.

Of the total UK Biobank participants, 34,890 individuals reported taking calcium supplements, 20,004 taking vitamin D supplements, and 10,406 taking both.

The researchers found no associations between the use of calcium supplements and hospital admissions related to ischaemic heart disease, any cardiovascular event, or death following admission for either admission category.

Results were similar for vitamin D and combination supplementation, said the researchers from Southampton University.

Furthermore, regardless of whether participants had a history of CVD or not at baseline, calcium supplementation did not increase the risk of future cardiac events, findings which remained robust after other factors were considered.

University of Southampton

Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy questioned

Nicholas Harvey

Professor Nicholas Harvey, from the university’s MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, presented the findings at a conference last week.

He said: “Calcium supplementation is widely used, including as an adjunct to therapy for osteoporosis.

“Previous studies have provided inconsistent findings with regard to associations between calcium supplements and cardiovascular events,” he said.

“Our results, using the largest single study to date, provide reassurance that such supplementation appears safe,” said Professor Harvey.

Professor Cyrus Cooper, director of the unit, added: “The findings will be built upon in further analyses that capitalise on the genetic and intensive musculoskeletal phenotyping components of the study in which we continue to play an important role.”

Their findings were presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Malaga in Spain and published in a supplement of the journal Osteoporosis International.

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