Many women take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis. But the pills have come under fire recently for potentially increasing the risk for heart problems.
Nancy Dennis took calcium supplements for twenty-five years. Recently she started to question her daily dose once studies showed the pills might increase the risk for heart problems.
Nancy has a family history of heart disease, so she asked her doctor for guidance. She said her doctor told her to discontinue taking calcium supplements, that there was no upside.
Dr. Karol Watson, Nancy's cardiologist says many of her female patients want to know how they can prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. She says it depends on our own personal risk. What is the greatest threat to life? For at least a third of all women, that's heart disease. Dr. Watson says women can get calcium from other sources.
"There is absolutely no evidence that calcium from dietary sources, like milk, like green leafy vegetables, those have never been associated with harm -- it's only the calcium supplements that have been associated with harm," according to the doctor.
Nancy is making sure to include these healthy foods in her diet. She says doesn't feel the need to supplement with anything else. A government advisory panel recently recommended against postmenopausal women taking a low-dose calcium supplement to prevent fractures.
There isn't enough evidence yet to say whether the pills benefit young women.