Well Being

Get Your Calcium From Kale, Not Supplements (Here’s Why)

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Well this is weird: A new study links high calcium intake with higher rates of heart disease and overall death. Isn’t calcium supposed to do a body good?

Yes and no. The study authors point out that too little calcium can lead to bone loss, fractures and thyroid issues. “Supplemental use of calcium has become common, and more than 60% of middle-aged and older women in the United States are regular users of calcium supplements,” they write. But worryingly, three recent analyses “have indicated a higher risk of both ischemic heart disease and stroke with calcium supplements.”

To understand the link, the researchers looked at a large group of Swedish women born between 1914 and 1948. In the lowest calcium group, average total intake was 572 milligrams per day; in the highest category, it was 2,137 mg per day.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board recommends adults 19- to 70 years old get between 800 and 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.

Among the Swedish women, the highest rates of death from all causes, heart disease and ischaemic heart disease (but not stroke) were seen in women with a calcium intake higher than 1,400 mg/day.

The increase was much more pronounced for those who ate a lot of calcium in addition to using calcium supplements. For women with similarly high calcium intakes who only got it through food sources, the risk was very moderate.