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Calcium supplements: the backlash begins

calcium supplementsThis time last week I wrote about the ‘Calcium increases your risk of heart attack’ story (see Calcium may increase heart attack risk, but only just…). Now the backlash to the story has started, and first on the scene is the US-based National Products Association. Since the mainstream press rarely ever prints these kinds of arguments (at least, not after they’ve already done their work of printing the original story), I thought I’d share the comments from Daniel Fabricant, who’s the NPA’s vice president of Global Government and Scientific Affairs (because you probably won’t see it otherwise).

For the record, the quote comes from the story publshed on the website Medical News Today. And it goes like this:

“There are thousands of studies on calcium, but the authors selected only eight to do this meta-analysis,” says Fabricant. “None of the selected studies had cardiovascular outcomes as the primary end-points, and data on cardiovascular events were not gathered in a standardized manner, so it would appear much more of a predetermined outcome versus one of great scientific rigor.

“We have seen the argument time and again that people can get all the nutrients they need from a balanced diet. However, we have also seen time and again that the majority of Americans do not eat a balanced diet. With that understanding, we hope that all individuals who use calcium supplements, and especially those populations that are at high risk for fractures, will continue their regimens and not be dissuaded by the attention surrounding this less than satisfactory study.”

And not even a mention of the fact that the absolute risk for the average person of developing a heart attack as a result of taking calcium supplements is just increased by one to two percent (and not the widely stated 30 percent, which is the relative risk) – a fact pointed out by cardiologist Professor John Cleland on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 (as reported by, er, yours truly).

If I spot any further discussions on the subject that might throw more light onto it, you’ll see them here.

Posted in Food and drink, General health.

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