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Calcium Citrate Helps Heart As Well As Bones
San Antonio TX, 24 April 2002

A new study published in the April issue of The American Journal of Medicine found that otherwise healthy postmenopausal women who took calcium citrate supplements lowered their cholesterol levels. According to the researchers, calcium citrate has a positive effect on heart health.

The study "Effects of Calcium Supplementation on Serum Lipid Concentrations in Normal Older Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial" was led by Ian R. Reid, professor, Department of Medicine, University of Auckland in New Zealand. The study was conducted as part of a larger trial to assess the effects of calcium on fracture incidence.

"This study showed that 1 gram of calcium (as calcium citrate) taken daily lowers the damaging component of blood cholesterol (LDL or low-density lipoprotein), and increases the protective cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoprotein). As a result, calcium citrate may reduce the incidence of heart attacks and angina in postmenopausal women," explained Dr. Reid.

According to Dr. Reid, this study was designed to determine the effect of calcium supplementation with calcium citrate (1 gram daily) on circulating lipid concentrations in normal older women. Subjects were restricted to postmenopausal women who were not receiving therapy for hyperlipidemia or osteoporosis. A total of 223 women aged 68 to 76 received either calcium citrate or placebo for 1 year. Fasting serum lipid concentrations were obtained at baseline, and at 2, 6, and 12 months.

The use of calcium citrate had a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. The results of this study support findings from earlier studies that demonstrated calcium supplementation has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Other studies have also shown that calcium intake is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease.

"Based on our data, one could predict that calcium citrate supplements may help otherwise healthy postmenopausal women reduce cholesterol, improve heart health and possibly even reduce the rate of cardiovascular related events by 20 to 30 percent," noted Dr. Reid. "These data provide reason to encourage the more widespread use of calcium supplementation in postmenopausal women," he added.

"This is exciting news for women," says Miriam Nelson, PhD, author of the Strong Women series of books and Director, Center for Physical Fitness and Associate Professor of Nutrition at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. "We all know calcium is essential for strong bones. However, this study also showed calcium citrate may play a role in reducing heart attacks and cardiovascular related deaths in postmenopausal women. This indicates a renewed need for sufficient calcium intake. I recommend taking a daily calcium citrate supplement, such as Citracal® and vitamin D, to help women maintain strong bones and a healthy heart."

According to Dr. Reid, future clinical trials should also explore the effect of calcium supplementation on lipids in other populations such as men, and larger studies should be undertaken to assess the effects of calcium supplementation on the risk of cardiovascular events. In summing up the study's findings, Dr. Reid noted, "Our results indicate that the benefits of calcium supplementation go beyond osteoporosis."


Mission Pharmacal, via PR Newswire.end-of-story


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