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Atherosclerosis. 2013 Nov;231(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.08.018. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Effects of calcium intake on the cardiovascular system in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Medical School, Cardiff University, Heath Park Campus, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK. Electronic address:


The use of calcium supplements for the prevention of complications of osteoporosis has significantly increased during the last years. The effects of calcium intake in postmenopausal women on cardiovascular parameters such as blood pressure, serum lipids and cardiovascular events are controversial. Even though transient beneficial effects of calcium supplementation have been reported, especially in women with low dietary calcium intake, their long-term outcomes are inconclusive. Only a very few studies investigating serum lipids in postmenopausal women have been described and these showed significant increases in high-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein to low-density lipoprotein ratio. With regards to cardiovascular events in this population group adverse effects have been reported on the rates of myocardial infarction and stroke with increased calcium intake by some authors, however, others described no effects or even beneficial outcomes. We present a review of the current literature which provides a balanced summary of the possible beneficial and adverse effects of calcium intake in postmenopausal women on cardiovascular parameters. Taking into account the modest effect of calcium supplementation in reducing fracture rates, a reassessment of the role, benefits and adverse effects of calcium supplements should be conducted in postmenopausal women.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Calcium; Cardiovascular; Mortality; Osteoporosis; Postmenopausal; Supplementation

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