Elevated cancer risk linked to excessive calcium intake, study says

Desiree Burns
April 13, 2019

In addition, the study found that consuming high levels of calcium from supplements - at least 1,000 milligrams per day - was linked to a higher risk of death from cancer.

In this study, participants were asked whether they had used any dietary supplements in the previous 30 days.

Association between dietary supplement use, nutrient intake, and mortality among U.S. adults: a cohort study. This could altogether eliminate the need to have additional nutritional supplements.

Lead scientist Dr Fang Fang Zhang, said: 'It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the effect might not be beneficial. All participants were 20 or older when they signed on to be part of the NHANES.

Nutrients sourced from foods were monitored with 24-hour dietary recalls.

To calculate the daily supplement dose of each nutrient, the frequency and the product information for ingredient, amount of ingredient per serving, and ingredient unit were combined.

The scientists compared the intake of a range of nutrients with rates of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Another shocking revelation made by the research was that if you are not deficient in Vitamin D but were still taking vitamin D supplements, you could be at an increased risk of death from all causes including cancer.

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During the study period, about 3,600 people died; and of these, 945 died from heart disease and 805 died from cancer. Excess consumption of calcium was associated with a higher risk of death from cancer.Food sources of vitamin K include leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli rabe.

Zinc is present in beans and legumes, resembling lentils and chickpeas. Adequate intake of vitamin A, K and zinc was linked to lower risk of deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

One thing that the researchers can not say is whether the association is between the nutrients themselves or other components in the foods, Zhang said. Eating nutritionally insipid food and trying to make up for it by taking supplements that appear to be doing more harm than good.

After they adjusted for factors like education and demographics, they found there is no positive connection between supplements and a longer life. That said, I'm going to go eat a salad.

As for the finding that high levels of calcium might shorten life, Kumar advises people to get as much calcium from their diet as possible. The ones that had used supplements had to give more details about it.

"It's more likely to be someone looking for more energy and vitality or trying to treat symptoms such as hair loss or leg cramps", she said.

As for those with low nutrient intake, researchers also concluded dietary supplements had "no effect on the risk of death" for those individuals. The academy points out that foods can contain beneficial components that aren't found supplements, such as fiber or bioactive compounds.

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