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Calcium supplements can increase risk of stroke

May 05, 2011 08:40 AM IST India India

New Delhi: A new study finds that too many Calcium supplements can increase your risk of a stroke or a heart attack.

You may think nothing of taking a calcium supplement every other day - and till now, may have assumed not just that it's beneficial, but harmless too!

Think again - A study published in the British Medical Journal finds it could increase your risk of stroke and heart attack by 20 per cent, by depositing in the arteries and causing a blockage.

"Over a period of time when the cholesterol has settled over there...the Calcium present in the body will also go and deposit in those and as the blockage gets older and older the blockages become harder," said a Cardiologist.

The researchers studied over 16 thousand healthy postmenopausal women, and found that extra calcium increased their risk of suffering both a stroke and a heart attack by 20 per cent.

Doctors say this study in itself is not conclusive and holds for women who have hit menopause - but across the spectrum, women should exercise caution, after all data from 13 other trials, involving 29,000 people reached similar conclusions.

Yet, studies find that almost 60 per cent of Indian women are deficient in calcium, we just don't get enough in our diet. Women especially are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, but they are also at risk of heart disease, so where does that leave them?

Orthopedic Dr Ambrish Mithal said, "70 to 80 per cent of women are popping in some supplement or the other without the doctor's knowledge. We should be taking supplements only if we are deficient in those particular nutrients."

The Doctor's advice women to a daily intake of 800 mg of Calcium, ideally in their diet - from milk and other dairy products. Women should get their Calcium and Vitamin D levels checked, regularly, before seeing whether they need any supplements.

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