Calcium intake, vascular calcification, and vascular disease


Correspondence: CM Weaver, Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, 700 W State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2059, USA. E-mail: Phone: +1-765-494-8231. Fax: +1-765-494-0674.


Recent research has reported a possible link between calcium supplementation and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and its endpoints in healthy, older adults. To evaluate the current evidence regarding the impact of calcium supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk and to address research gaps, the present review was conducted. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were included, when available, along with original articles. The articles included in the review were obtained from PubMed using the following search terms: calcium intake, calcium supplementation, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, mortality, and vascular calcification. The majority of the studies reviewed demonstrated no statistically significant adverse or beneficial effect of calcium supplementation on cardiovascular disease or its endpoints. While some studies indicate a possible increased risk, there is a lack of consensus on these findings and a need exists to further elucidate a mechanism. More experimental data are necessary to understand the impact of calcium intake, both levels and sources, on vascular calcification and vascular disease. The use of 41C kinetic modeling in the Ossabaw swine provides an approach for assessing soft tissue calcification in an atherosclerotic and normal state to address research gaps.