be linked to increased risk of
in older women who have a history of stroke or have other
signs of cerebrovascular disease, suggests a new study. Stroke
is a cerebrovascular
disease that hinders the flow of blood to the brain and increases the risk of
‘Calcium supplements taken by older women who have had a stroke or a lesion in the white matter of the brain are at increased risk of dementia.’
Calcium is an
essential micronutrient which is needed for optimal bone health
. The body does not produce calcium, so the
body relies on the diet to meet the calcium requirement. Heart, muscles, and
nerves also need calcium to function efficiently. Calcium is also known to play
a key role in protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
The recommended levels of calcium
not met, the bone mineral density may reduce. Women over the age of 50 years
are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis when their diet lacks calcium. Osteoporosis
"porous bone" which is a bone disease. This condition usually occurs
when the body loses the bone density. The bone becomes weak and can
easily break from a fall. Globally,
200 million women suffer from osteoporosis. About 8.9 million fractures are
caused due to osteoporosis every year.
Supplements and Risk of Dementia
dietary allowance of calcium for women over the age of 50 is 1000 to 1,200mg
per day. Post-menopausal women are prescribed calcium supplements to lower
their risk of developing osteoporosis. But the safety and efficacy of calcium
supplements are being called into question. So researchers from the University
of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted a study on the use of supplements and their
effect on health.
dementia-free women between the ages of 70 and 92 participated in the study.
The participants were followed for five years. A variety of tests were taken at
the beginning and at the end of the study. Tests on memory and thinking skills
were also taken. CT scan was performed on 447 participants at the beginning of
looked at the use of calcium supplements in the participants to analyzed
if they developed dementia during the course of the study.
About 98 participants were taking calcium supplements at the start of the
study. Fifty-four women had experienced a stroke before the study. During the
course of study, 54 more women had strokes, and 59 women developed dementia.
About 71% of the
women who underwent CT scans had lesions in their brains' white matter, which
is a marker for the cerebrovascular disease.
of the Study
- Women who were taking calcium
supplements were twice as likely to develop dementia than women who did not
- Further analysis of the data showed that
the increased dementia risk was only among women with the cerebrovascular disease.
- The risk of developing dementia was seven times higher in
women with a history of stroke who had taken calcium supplements than those who
did not take the supplements.
- Women who had lesions in
their brain's white matter and also took supplements were three times likely to
develop dementia than women who had lesions but did not take supplements.
- Women without a history of stroke or without white matter
lesions had no risk of dementia when taking calcium supplements.
Out of the 98
women who had taken calcium supplements, 14 developed dementia. Six out of 15
women with a history of stroke who took the supplements developed dementia
compared to 12 out of 93 women with a history of stroke who did not take
Eighteen out of
83 women without a history of stroke who took supplements developed dementia
compared to 33 out of 509 women who did not take supplements.
important to note that our study is observational, so we cannot assume that
calcium supplements cause dementia," said study author Silke Kern, MD, PhD
with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
of the study is that it was small and results cannot be generalized to the
overall population. Further studies may be needed to confirm the findings. The
research is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy
of Calcium Supplements
have shown that calcium supplements may increase the possibility of heart
disease. However, more research is needed to prove the effect of calcium
supplements and risk of heart disease. Calcium supplements have also been
linked to prostate cancer risk. But a recent study showed no risk of prostate
cancer associated with high intake of dietary calcium or supplemental calcium
intake. However, it is important to avoid excessive intake of calcium and
consult with a general physician or a dietitian to determine the recommended
intake of calcium.
appears to be safe and protective against cerebrovascular
Calcium is found
in a variety of foods such as
- Dairy products - milk, yogurt,
- Fish - sardines, salmon, black cod
- Soy products - tofu
- Vegetables -
kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery
- Fortified cereal
- Facts and Statistics - (https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics)
and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097?pg=1)
- Calcium and Bone Health - (http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/calcium-and-your-bones.htm)