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Calcium, Vitamin D Supplements OK for Arteries

No evidence of raised stroke or heart risks in those taking moderate doses, researchers say

TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements don't raise women's coronary artery calcium (CAC) levels, a new study finds.

Deposits of calcium in blood vessels have been linked to blood vessel blockages and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Because of this, many women have concerns about taking calcium pills to maintain bone strength, according to the authors of a report published in the June 16 issue of the journal Menopause.

For this study, the researchers used cardiac computed tomography imaging to measure CAC levels in 754 women who were aged 50 to 59 at the time of enrollment. CAC scores were similar among women who took calcium (1,000 milligrams of elemental calcium daily) plus vitamin D3 (400 International Units daily) for an average of seven years and women who took a placebo.

"This study provides reassuring evidence that moderate doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements do not increase calcium deposition in the coronary arteries. Thus, women need not avoid these supplements and sacrifice bone health due to concern about such a risk," Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a hospital news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about calcium and vitamin D.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, June 15, 2010

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