Calcium supplements may lead to artery blockages, study says

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The results of a new study suggest calcium supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries. (WLS)

Researchers now have evidence that too much of a good thing can possibly damage your heart. The results of a new study suggest calcium supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries.

But there are ways to protect your bones without harming your heart. For Brenda Black, canvas, paintbrushes, and color soothe her soul.

Fruits and vegetables fuel her body. This 54-year-old has spent decades reducing stress. Eating right. Working out. But one day...

"I was running and all of a sudden I felt this real heavy feeling on my chest. Almost like someone was stepping on my chest," Black said.

She was having a heart attack.

"They said there was blockage, but didn't attribute it to anything in particular," Black said.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied 10 years' worth of medical information for 2,700 patients; including scans of the heart arteries.

"We found those who were taking supplements, calcium supplements compared to non-supplement users were 22 percent more likely to have new development of calcium on heart arteries on the second CAT scans 10 years apart," said Erin Michos, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Black was not part of the Johns Hopkins study, but had been taking supplements for about two years.

"I kind of increased it in the last year where I thought maybe more was better for me because I'm not getting calcium," Black said.

"I think that patients think because these are over the counter that they're safe, and more is better," Dr. Michos said.

Instead, experts advise patients to get more calcium from their diets.

"Green leafy vegetables are a great source. They're almost equivalent to a lot of dairy products," said Kelly Alagna, RN, BSN Cardiac nurse.

Kale, spinach, bok choy, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are good non-dairy sources of calcium. Black is getting stronger every day.

"If calcium supplements are causing blockage then the word needs to get out," Black said.

The research also indicated that dietary calcium may have a positive impact on heart health.

Dr. Michos says for some patients with differing calcium needs, the supplements may be helpful. But even though they are available without a prescription, she recommends people consult with their doctor before taking them.

If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at
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healthhealthsupplementsheart attacku.s. & world

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