Over the past decade a myriad of studies have concluded that calcium supplements can help promote healthy bone mass while preventing osteoporosis.
However, a controversial study published last week in the British Medical Journal suggested that calcium supplements may also increase cardiovascular disease risk, an assertion that has been challenged by many organizations.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition recently issued a statement claiming that the meta-analysis, which included the results of 15 separate studies, had significant limitations and included incomplete or erroneous information.
Officials with the council noted that the research team from the University of Auckland in New Zealand hand-picked 15 clinical trials from more than 300 available studies, including the Women’s Health Initiative—a comprehensive study that found no link between calcium supplementation and cardiovascular risk.
"The authors characterize these findings as though all of the selected studies suggest increased risk. In fact, the opposite is true: most of the studies do not suggest increased risk," said Andrew Shao, the council’s senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.
"It’s unfortunate that these researchers are making sweeping judgments about the value of calcium supplements by only assessing a handful of handpicked studies," he added.
In its assessment of the meta-analysis, the council also noted that the majority of the studies that were included were not designed to evaluate heart risk.
"This analysis should not dissuade consumers, particularly young women, from taking calcium supplements," concluded Shao.