Many women take calcium supplements to avoid bone fractures from osteoporosis. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended against calcium supplementation in postmenopausal women because of a lack of evidence that it prevents fractures.
Although not all studies are consistent, other research indicates that calcium supplements can increase the risk of a heart attack by as much as 30 percent in women, and these supplements have been linked to cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
Scientists speculate that the heart risk could be a result of a concentrated dose of calcium entering the bloodstream all at once, causing calcium deposits in arteries.
Most experts do agree that the safest and most effective way to consume calcium is through diet. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 mg of daily calcium for women ages 19 to 50 and men ages 19 to 70. For women age 51 and older, the Institute recommends 1,200 mg. A 6 oz. serving of yogurt or 8 ounces of milk provides about 300 mg of calcium.
You can also get calcium from eating canned salmon or sardines, kale, almonds, and broccoli.
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