NPA Responds to Calcium Study Citing Increased Heart Attacks

April 29, 2011

NPA's Cara Welch calls study a "flawed analysis."

The Natural Products Association (Washington, DC) has responded to a study published on April 19 in the British Medical Journal, which concluded that calcium supplementation may increase risk of heart attack and stroke.

Led by researchers at the University of Auckland, the study focused on reanalysis of data relating to cardiovascular risks in 16,718 women who were assigned to calcium and vitamin D in the Women’s Health Initiative Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation Study (WHI study), and other placebo-controlled trials. The WHI study assigned over 36,000 women to 1 g of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D or placebo daily for seven years.

In assessing the data, the researchers determined that calcium or calcium and vitamin D supplementation modestly increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Natural Products Association vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs Cara Welch, PhD, has since responded to what she says is a “flawed analysis” of data.

“We saw this same flawed analysis last year with some slight changes, but we’re still looking at a meta-analysis of other studies,” said Welch. “The eight studies that were included last time weren’t originally set up to look at cardiovascular events, and the Women’s Health Initiative Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation Study reported ‘no adverse effect of calcium and vitamin D…on any cardiovascular end point.’ This latest analysis does not present compelling evidence against calcium and vitamin D, and in fact, there are many more studies touting the beneficial effects for both.”