Older females who use calcium supplementation appear to have significantly higher abdominal aorta calcification progression with no significant preservation of bone mineral density

In March 2020 researchers from Canada assessed the association between calcium supplementation and progression of abdominal aorta calcification over a 5-year period. It should be noted that calcium supplementation has already been associated with increased cardiovascular events. A total of 296 individuals (217 women; 79 men) were involved in the study. Each individual had lateral spine X-rays and scans to assess bone mineral density (femoral neck, lumbar spine and total hip) taken at two time points within the 5 year time period. Information on calcium supplementation use was collected via a health history questionnaire and medication records. Results showed that there was an overall increase in abdominal aorta calcification which was significantly greater in calcium supplement users and in females. In fact, the higher the amount of calcium taken, the greater the degree of abdominal aorta calcification progression. An analysis relating to calcium supplementation in females revealed that both calcium supplementation use and the amount were significantly associated with progression of abdominal aorta calcification, after adjustment for age, hypertension, diabetes and smoking history, which was not associated with a change in bone mineral density. An analysis relating to calcium supplementation in males revealed that calcium supplement usage was associated with a significantly greater bone mineral density loss at the lumbar spine, hip and femoral neck. The researchers therefore concluded that older female calcium supplementation users had significantly higher abdominal aorta calcification progression over 5 years, but had no significant bone mineral density preservation. The results therefore suggest that vascular calcification may contribute to the cardiovascular events observed in calcium supplement users.

Hulbert M et al. Changes in vascular calcification and bone mineral density in calcium supplement users from the Canadian Multi-center Osteoporosis Study (CaMOS). Atherosclerosis. 2020 Mar;296:83-90.

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