At a Glance
A new study confirms the safety of calcium supplementation in adult women, and fails to show any association between calcium supplementation and an increased risk of heart disease.
Read more about this research below.
Osteoporosis has been called the silent killer and affects nearly 50 million Americans to some degree. Because of this, calcium supplementation has been widely recommended since much of the population falls short of dietary recommendations. However, some reports published during the past several years have argued that supplement use may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In a new study published in Osteoporosis International, researchers examined the independent associations between supplementation of calcium and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. CVD includes coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The researchers took information from a very large prospective study of 74,245 women in the Nurse’s Health Study. All women were free of CVD and cancer at the beginning of the study, and calcium supplement intake was assessed every 4 years. One significant advantage to this study is the long follow-up time (24 years) and large number of cardiovascular events (4,565) from which to draw potential associations.
The research failed to show any independent associations between calcium supplementation and the risk of CVD. In fact, after adjusting for age, BMI, dietary calcium, vitamin D intake, and other CVD factors, the women who supplemented with a dose of at least 1 gram per day had an 18% lower risk of CVD than those who did not use calcium supplements. There was no significant difference in the risk of stroke incidence between the groups, but the women taking calcium supplements had a 29% lower risk of CHD than non-supplement users.
The findings of this large prospective study do not support the assertion that calcium supplementation increases the risk of CVD in women.
Paik JM1, Curhan GC, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Manson JE, Rimm EB, Taylor EN Calcium supplement intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Osteoporos Int. 2014 May 7. [Epub ahead of print
At a Glance
A new study has shown that women who eat a nutrient poor diet before becoming pregnant have a higher risk of preterm birth than women who eat a healthy diet.
Read more about this research below.
Preterm birth (defined as delivery before 37 weeks of gestation) is associated with significant short and long-term adverse-health outcomes including death. Infants born preterm are more likely than infants born full term to die during the neonatal period (first 28 days) and infancy (first year), and mortality rates increase proportionally with decreasing gestational age or birth weight.
Previous research has shown a positive correlation between the maternal diet, preterm birth, infant birth weight and healthy infants. A new study has found that eating habits before conception may also play a role in preterm birth and healthy infants.
The results of a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition has shown that women who consistently eat a diet rich in lean protein, fruit, vegetables and some whole grains before and during pregnancy have a decreased risk of preterm birth.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide, investigated the dietary habits of over 300 Australian women, at least 18 years in age, before pregnancy and followed them through the birth of their infant. This small cohort was part of a larger prospective study that assessed the effects of asthma during pregnancy. Dietary patterns were assessed and categorized into three groups: high-protein/fruit, high-fat/high-sugar/fast food, and vegetarian. Women with higher scores on the high-protein/ fruit pattern were less likely to have babies born preterm, while the women with higher scores for the high-fat/high-sugar/fast food diet were more a risk to deliver babies preterm.
These findings are important and suggest that preterm delivery might actually be modified by maternal diet. Eating a healthy diet that includes lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains before pregnancy is important for a healthy pregnancy and the long-term health of the child.
Grieger JA, Grzeskowiak LE, Clifton VL.Preconception Dietary Patterns in Human Pregnancies Are Associated with Preterm Delivery. J Nutr. 2014 Apr 30. [Epub ahead of print]
Learning about vitamins can be confusing, especially when you are trying to figure out just what type of supplements you should be taking. We've all been told at one time or another, that if we ate a nutritionally balanced meal three times a day we wouldn't need dietary supplements or need to know about vitamins, but of course, this just isn't realistic in our society.
A huge number of us are stressed out on a routine basis, and don't always have time to eat at all let alone a nutritionally balanced meal (and three of them?!). Vitamins should never be substituted for good nutritional intake. Your body needs fuel to accomplish all the tasks you have to attend to in a day. A good diet is one with plenty of calcium, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber supplemented by vitamins as needed for specific health concerns.
Many food items are enriched with vitamins and minerals, like breads, pastas, and cereals. Information about vitamins listed on packaging includes the percentage of the daily recommended allowance of each, which will give you a pretty good idea how much you are getting of a certain vitamin or mineral. Calcium is an important mineral for women, and most sources about vitamins state that women should consume at least 1200-1500 mg of calcium daily. Most calcium supplements only contain 30-50% of the recommended daily amounts and must be supplemented by diet intake of other sources, such as cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream. About vitamin D, this is an important vitamin and is essential to bone health, and is included in some calcium supplements as well. Vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin via sunlight as well, but for people living in northern states, or for the elderly, this is not always an option, therefore a vitamin supplement is the answer.
Part of taking care of yourself is learning about vitamins and minerals that our bodies require for optimal health. Many sources are available to you to learn more about vitamins and how certain vitamin deficiencies as well as excess intake can be detrimental to your health. It's important to take an active role in your health, and be knowledgeable about vitamins in your cabinet and which are right for you. In addition to searching on the web, you can find an abundance of information about vitamins in various health publications, or you can even consult a nutritionist or naturopathic physician for advice about vitamins and supplements, and how you can implement them into your diet. Here's to your good health!
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