When Less is More (Again)By | On Feb 05, 2013
Many times here at the Rx Pad what we have prescribed is less of something in order to achieve more. So often today, the mentality is that if a little is good, a lot more is better. With the exception of money, this is generally a fundamentally flawed approach. Simply substituting supplements in an effort to correct a faulty diet is an attempt to shortcut our way to health and wellness. And as we’ve noted in these annals before, doubling up on the supplements-even of natural minerals and vitamins- is not without potential peril.
A recent study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that highlights our point, once again. The study, Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality:The National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study, examined the data from a number of previous trials using a method known as meta-analysis. This approach maximizes the power of numbers to find associations and correlations that might not show up in individual studies with a smaller number of participants.
The study examined almost 390,000 men and women aged 50 to 71. About 51% of men and about 70% of women took calcium supplements of 1,000mg or more per day. The study found that men taking the supplement had about a 20% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who did not.
The study found no such association for women. However, a previously published in the British Medical Journal reached a different conclusion. That trial was also a meta-analysis that looked at data from 11 smaller trials, comprising about 12,000 female patients. The data from this study showed that that although the total number of women having heart attacks was small (around 1-2%), among those taking calcium supplements there was a 31% increased risk of having a heart attack.
For both these studies, the relationships are correlative, not necessarily causative. A very interesting side note is that studies that looked at diets rich in calcium did not show any increased cardiac risk. In fact, several studies suggest that diets rich in calcium can result in a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Approach it The Grassroots Gourmet way: create great taste first with natural, wholesome ingredients and good health will follow as form follows function.
Qian Xiao; Rachel A. Murphy; Denise K. Houston; Tamara B. Harris; Wong-Ho Chow; Yikyung Park. Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality. The National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. JAMA. 2013;():1-8. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3283.