NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Supplemental Calcium Associated With Increased Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Men

May 29th, 2013

In a large cohort of AARP members, supplemental calcium intake was associated with elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in men but not in women. There was no association between dietary calcium intake and CVD mortality.

The prospective National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study included 388,229 men and women 50 to 71 years of age in six states (California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and two metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan). Dietary and supplemental calcium intake was assessed by self-administered questionnaire at study baseline in 1995–96; supplemental calcium intake included calcium from multivitamins as well as individual calcium supplements. Cardiovascular disease deaths were ascertained using the National Death Index. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs were estimated with multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and dietary variables.

A total of 7,904 CVD deaths in men and 3,874 CVD deaths in women were ascertained during a mean of 12 years of follow-up. Overall, 56% of men and 58% of women took multivitamins containing calcium, and 23% of men and 56% of women took individual calcium supplements. In men, supplemental calcium intake was associated with a significantly higher risk of CVD death (RR>1000 vs 0 mg/d, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.05–1.36) and heart disease death (RR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.03–1.37). Supplemental calcium intake was related to an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease death, but the association was not significant (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.81–1.61). In women, supplemental calcium intake was not associated with CVD death (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.96–1.18), heart disease death (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.93–1.18), or cerebrovascular disease death (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.87–1.33). Dietary calcium intake was not related to CVD death in either men or women.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(8):639-46. Epub 2013 Feb 4.