I'm trying to be vegan, but it seems that vegan foods lack sufficient calcium to meet the Recommended Daily Intake of 1000 mg/day. I'm wondering if I should take calcium supplements, but I'm worried that some sources suggest an association between calcium supplements (and maybe calcium-fortified foods) and disease.
Calcium supplements linked to disease
This post on the Harvard Health Blog links supplemental calcium to heart disease.
Over 12 years of follow-up, men who took more than 1,000 milligrams (mg) of daily supplemental calcium were 20% more likely to succumb to heart disease than those who didn’t take calcium supplements.
A 2013 article on the NY Times Blog shows more research linking supplemental calcium with heart attack.
Dr. Bolland then reanalyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative and found a 24 percent increased risk of heart attack among women who took calcium with or without vitamin D. In this case, the increased risk occurred only among those women assigned to take supplemental calcium who had not already been taking it when the study began.
An older 2011 article in The New York Times warned that high dose calcium supplements may contribute to kidney stones.
The institute’s expert committee, which included bone specialists, concluded that most people don’t need supplements of these critical nutrients and warned of serious health risks from the high doses some now take — including kidney stones and heart disease linked to calcium supplements, and the very falls and fractures that vitamin D is meant to protect against.
Questions about calcium-fortified foods
- How and why would the calcium carbonate from calcium supplements be asserted as worse than that in the fortified foods?
- Isn't solid calcium carbonate (e.g. in supplements) chemically the same as aqueous calcium carbonate (e.g. in fortified drinks)?
- Are calcium supplements really worse than fortified foods with calcium?