Calcium woman heart diseaseDid you know that ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium is stored in our bones and teeth for structural support? In an age when we all have easy access to artificial calcium supplements, a number of us tend to go overboard with those flavoured calcium pills.

Recently a study published by the Journal of American Medical Association stated that having too much of calcium supplements could increase your risk of heart disease. In a country where bone related problems are as frequent as heart attacks, it is no wonder that city doctors are taking the warning seriously.

Doctors warn that you need not completely ignore calcium supplements all together, but moderation is the key. Senior heart surgeon Dr Ramakant Panda, said that India needs to rethink its calcium-popping ways. He told TOI ‘The study is relevant in the Indian context too. Unnecessary calcium supplementation should be avoided at all costs, unless there’s a clear indication of deficiency ascertained by a bone scan or other vitamin deficiencies.’

The study was carried out on 4 lakh middle-aged adults between the ages of 50 to 71 for over 12 years. The study found that men who had taken more than 1,000 milligrams of calcium everyday have nearly a 20% higher chance of dying due to heart related diseases. The study also states the possibility of the excess calcium getting deposited in the arteries and increasing the cardiovascular risk in some people.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Doctors usually recommend calcium supplements to women who are menopausal, pregnant women, teenagers and men over the age of 55 years. As these risk factors increase, the amount of calcium lost by the body is much greater, making the inclusion of supplements in their diet necessary.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.

How much is too much?

According to experts 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for men and 1,400 milligrams of calcium per day for women is the maximum that should be included into ones diet. This limit is inclusive of natural sources as well as supplements. Although supplements are the easiest way to get that much needed calcium reserves topped up, here are some foods you could include into your diet to optimise your calcium intake.

Source

Amount of calcium in milligrams

Curd (plain)

452 per small cup

Cheese (cheddar)

307 per 20 ml

Soy milk

386 per cup

Milk

308 per glass

Tofu

253 per cup

Sesame seeds

88 per tablespoon

Almonds

750 per serving

To know more about why you need calcium in your diet and what calcium deficiency can lead to, click here.

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