It is common knowledge that calcium is essential for bone health but taking calcium supplements has so far been linked to risk of heart disease. However, Canadian researchers have now found that women can benefit from higher daily intake of calcium supplements, prolonging their lifespans.
The study was conducted by researchers from various Canadian universities and the report was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. McGill University research associate Lisa Langsetmo and Professor David Goltzman, director of McGill Calcium Research Laboratory, were lead authors of the study.
The research team reviewed data from the extensive Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study to see whether the intake of calcium and vitamin D had any relation to a higher overall death risk. The study included 9,033 people, who were monitored from 1995 to 2007. During the observation period, 1,160 of the subjects died. The researchers established that the intake of calcium supplements reduced mortality risk for women but no such benefits were established for men. The study did not produce any conclusive evidence of a similar effect from vitamin D intake.
Professor Goltzman said that women taking calcium supplements in daily doses of up to 1,000mg were found to be at lower risk of death regardless of cause and of the presence of vitamin D in the supplements. He went on to add that increased amounts of calcium were also beneficial irrespective of the source. This means that a similar effect can be achieved by receiving the calcium through food, whether dairy or non-dairy, Goltzman explained.