Too much calcium can lead to atherosclerosis | Health City Berlin

Friday March 25, 2022 – Author: bab

Patients suffering from osteoporosis should take an extra dose of calcium daily. But calcium tablets in too high a dose can lead to kidney stones and atherosclerosis. Experts recommend getting calcium from food.

Patients suffering from osteoporosis, i.e. calcium deficiency, should take an extra portion of calcium every day to strengthen their bones. This also applies to people who are affected by a preliminary stage of bone loss (osteopenia). However, calcium tablets in too high a dose (more than 500 mg/day) can cause kidney stones and atherosclerosis.

Because many patients take multiple supplements, accidental overdose is also possible. There are no harmful maximum limits for calcium-rich foods. Therefore, the mineral should preferably be taken in through food, advises Dr. Stephan Scharla, spokesman for the bone and mineral metabolism section of the German Society for Endocrinology (DGE).

A balanced diet provides enough calcium

About 98 percent of calcium is contained in bones and teeth and keeps them stable. The quantitatively most important mineral in the human body is also an important factor in blood coagulation. It is also involved in numerous functions such as the transmission of stimuli in the nervous system.

“Healthy people with a varied and balanced diet that also includes dairy products do not need medicinal calcium supplements,” says Dr. Charla. “An exception is those who (can) consume little or no dairy products and patients with malabsorption, for example after gastric bypass surgery for obesity. They are at high risk of diet-related calcium deficiency,” says the DGE member.

Good bioavailability of calcium from mineral water

“Dairy products are a good source of calcium, as are green leafy vegetables like broccoli or kale. Therefore, people with lactose intolerance or aversion to dairy products can switch to other sources of calcium.” calcium. Now there are many lactose-free dairy products on the market supermarket,” says Scharla.

Studies show that the bioavailability of calcium from mineral water is similar to that of milk. If the mineral water contains at least 150 mg of calcium/litre, it can be labeled as “containing calcium”. This is indicated on the bottle label.

Calcium absorption is affected by high-phosphate sausage products, coffee and black tea (if consumed in large amounts), alcoholic beverages, soft drinks (such as cola, fanta), processed cheese, and foods high in oxalic acid such as spinach, rhubarb, and asparagus.

The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.

In order to be able to absorb calcium from the intestine and convert it into the bones, the body also needs vitamin D. In winter, a vitamin D supplement of 1000 IU per day is recommended due to the lower proportion of UV light. This not only improves calcium absorption, but also strengthens the immune system. However, Scharla warns against excessive single doses of vitamin D: “They are harmful, continuous low intake is better.”

Too much calcium can lead to atherosclerosis

A calcium intake of 1,000 mg per day is considered optimal. Up to 500 mg/day of this can be safely taken through calcium supplements. “The most effective way is to take it with meals,” advises Scharla in a press release. Calcium supplements in excess of 500 mg per day may increase cardiovascular risk and lead to atherosclerosis. This applies to both over-the-counter preparations and medicines.

It should be noted that patients taking medications for osteoporosis, such as intravenous bisphosphonates, teriparatide, or romosozumab, may have an increased calcium requirement. Here the doctors recommend an additional intake of medicinal calcium, says Scharla.


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