New York: Don`t expect your calcium and vitamin D supplements to improve your heart health or prevent a stroke, according to a systematic review of published studies.
"The existing literature is quite sparse" in this area, Sesso told Reuters Health.None of the 17 studies they uncovered was designed specifically to look at effects of the supplements on heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or death due to related causes."Existing trials were designed with other purposes in mind," Sesso explained.Part of the difficulty in looking at the overall picture was that forms and doses of the supplements differed from one study to another.Some studies did show that vitamin D supplements cut the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. However, most of these involved patients with severe kidney disease who were on dialysis, a vast difference from healthy individuals, Sesso noted.The remaining studies failed to show any meaningful benefits of vitamin D, calcium, or a combination of the two.So at this time, Sesso says "no" to suggestions that healthy people supplement their diet with calcium or vitamin D."Now, if there are specific instances of vitamin D or calcium deficiency, then that`s a separate issue that should be discussed with a personal physician," he added.There are historical lessons about taking supplements, authors of a related editorial warn. For several years, vitamins A and E were believed to prevent multiple ills, ranging from heart disease to cancer. However, major reports that came out in 2005 and 2007 showed that both vitamins actually increased the risk of dying."We`ve learned in the past that things can go really, really wrong" when people start taking vitamin pills, Dr. Eliseo Guallar, lead author of the editorial, told Reuters Health.Guallar, from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and Sesso agree that the best way to avoid a similar outcome is through "good, solid" studies in healthy populations.Bureau Report
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