Asked February 24, 2016, 12:55 PM EST

I have repeatedly heard that calcium supplements can be bad for you. Can you elaborate on the benefits of taking calcium supplements at 60 yrs of age. Specifically I have heard that if you take too much calcium it is bad for your heart. I am concerned about taking calcium supplements because of this.

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Calcium is an important nutrient that can only be obtained through diet. As you know calcium helps build strong bones and helps with the function of your heart, muscles and nerves. Typically by age 30 we have stored all the calcium we're going to store in our bones. It is released gradually into our blood stream from our stored sources. By eating adequate calcium or taking supplements the desire is to slow the release of our stored calcium so that bones will remain strong and osteoporosis will be avoided. The question is whether or not eating additional calcium or taking supplements is effective in this process. There may be some risks in taking calcium supplements or there simply may be no benefit. Research is still evolving to help us answer this question. I encourage you to speak to your doctor so all of your health conditions can be taken into account when decided whether or not supplements are appropriate for you.

One thing to focus on would be to make sure you are getting adequate calcium in your diet. Men age 51-70 need 1000 mg of calcium daily, women over age 51 need 1200 mg of calcium daily. Milk and yogurt are some of the richest sources of calcium. Remember that Vit D is required for calcium to be absorbed.

Below is a link from the Mayo clinic that you might find helpful.