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Effects of Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements on Cancer and Heart Disease Risk

  • 2 Min To Read
  • a month ago

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplements may have varying impacts on the mortality risk of postmenopausal women. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) previously investigated the effects of daily calcium and vitamin D supplementation in postmenopausal women, but the recent report looked at follow-up death data to identify longer-term health effects associated with these supplements.

The study found that women taking calcium and vitamin D had a lower risk of dying from cancer but a slightly increased risk of dying from heart disease if they were postmenopausal. Researchers evaluated data from the WHI trial and the National Death Index to determine the impact of these supplements on cancer, heart disease, hip fractures, and overall mortality.

Women who took calcium and vitamin D supplements had a 7% lower risk of dying from cancer over 22 years compared to those who took a placebo. However, they faced a 6% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, with the cardiovascular effects most pronounced in women who had been taking supplements before the trial.

The study also highlighted the complex relationship between supplements and biological effects, emphasizing the need for more research in this field. While the exact reasons for the impact of calcium and vitamin D supplements on cancer and heart disease remain unclear, some research suggests that these supplements may affect tumor invasiveness, blood vessel formation, gut functions, and bile acid production.

Overall, the study underscores the importance of cautious and intentional use of supplements, particularly for postmenopausal women with inadequate calcium intake. More research is needed to determine the ideal duration and dosage of calcium and vitamin D supplementation, along with the long-term health effects associated with their use. The authors of the study recommend further replication of these findings and evaluation in more diverse populations to better understand the generalizability of the results.

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