(09/24/12) - Good for your bones, but bad for your heart! There is a warning for women about calcium supplements. Bone-protecting calcium supplements may be doing just the opposite for your heart - putting your life in danger.
"I just couldn't believe it," Daisy Sotolongo says, recalling her reaction when she found out the main artery in her heart was 99 percent blocked.
"She was about to have a major heart attack because of it," says her cardiologist, Dr. Alan Akermann.
Fortunately, doctors opened those blockages in time. Then, Daisy found out she may put herself at risk for another blockage if she kept doing what she was doing to prevent osteoporosis.
"The doctor told me I needed to take calcium," she says.
But a recent study finds oral calcium supplements, like the ones Daisy was taking, can increase heart attack risk by as much as 86 percent.
"It is a real issue that needs to be looked at," and Dr. Ackermann says, when taken in concentrated pill form, it could quickly raise the amount of calcium in your blood.
"The theory behind it is that when you have a rapid rise of calcium, that it can promote clotting, which will give you a heart attack."
He says women need to know their risk factors for heart disease and osteoporosis to determine if the supplements will help or hurt them.
Ackermann says if you are at higher risk for heart disease, "what we're advocating now is that you try to consume more foods that will give you natural calcium rather than take the oral supplements."
Non-fat dairy products like yogurt or cottage cheese.
Greens, like broccoli, collard greens and spinach.
Get more exercise, especially resistance or weight training.
Veggies are now Daisy's main source of calcium, and she's lifting weights to strengthen her bones, "I feel great."
Ackermann says natural calcium may be better for women trying to prevent osteoporosis because it's absorbed by the body more gradually.
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