There is a big difference in how the body absorbs calcium in food compared to a calcium supplement. It takes time for the stomach to break down food, extract the calcium, and release it the bloodstream.
In comparison, calcium supplements are rapidly digested and flood the body with its entire daily recommended dose all at once. This can imbalance electrolytes in the blood and lead to irregular heart rhythm.
This may help explain why a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found higher rates of heart damage and calcium-based plaque buildups among patients on calcium supplements.
The researchers also found lower rates of heart disease among people who ate lots of calcium-rich foods but did not take calcium supplements.
According to nutritionist John Anderson, Ph.D., and co-author of the report:
There is clearly something different in how the body uses and responds to supplements versus intake through diet that makes it riskier. It could be that supplements contain calcium salts, or it could be from taking a large dose all at once that the body is unable to process.”
The conclusions of the study were based on 10 years of medical tests on 2,700 patients. It was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association on October 11, 2016.
An estimated 43% of American adults take supplements that include calcium, according to the National Institute of Health. Many hope it will decrease their risk of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures after falls, especially in older adults.
Because calcium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis, daily calcium intake of 1000- to 1200-mg per day is recommended for adults between the ages of 50 and 71 years old.
Every cup of 1% milk contains about 300-mg of calcium. Other foods high in calcium include cheese, leafy green vegetables, fish canned in their bones (sardines), almonds, oranges, beans, and many more.
Source: Science Daily