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Exploring The Link Between Calcium Supplementation and Cardiovascular Health

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As a Diabetes Educator, I am always on the lookout for research that can impact the lives of people with diabetes. Recently I came across a fascinating article in Diabetes Care, titled “Associations of Habitual Calcium Supplementation With Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality in Individuals With and Without Diabetes”. I believe the key findings are important to share with you as they showed a significant difference for individuals managing diabetes than those without diabetes.

The study in a nutshell:

This study investigated almost half a million people to look at the relationship between habitual calcium supplementation and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death (mortality) in people with and without diabetes. This research is relevant because many people with diabetes may consider calcium supplements as part of their overall health strategy to avoid osteoporosis and improve bone health.


One of the most striking findings was that individuals with diabetes who regularly took calcium supplements from 500 to 1500 mg had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality compared to those who did not take supplements or did not have diabetes. The same finding was not associated with calcium intake from dietary sources as recommended in the recent guidelines from the American Heart Association, which advises individuals to adopt a well-balanced eating pattern to obtain adequate calcium for health instead of using calcium supplements.

Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, tofu, sardines and canned salmon, almonds and hazelnuts, beans and lentils, dried figs, broccoli, and Chia or sesame seeds. It is important to realize that calcium absorption can be influenced by other dietary factors, such as vitamin D and fiber intake so a well-balanced diet includes a variety of these nutrients in combination.


For individuals with diabetes who have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease to begin with, this study’s results emphasize the importance of cautious consideration when it comes to calcium supplementation. It is crucial to consult your healthcare team before starting or continuing any supplement regimen as the potential risks may outweigh the potential benefits.  A well-balanced diet and a heart-healthy lifestyle remain the cornerstones of maintaining heart health.