"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Calcium supplements may raise heart attack risk


I have never regularly taken calcium supplements.  I think I took them halfheartedly for about a year back about 10 years ago, but they caused bloating and so I stopped.  Just before I had my hormones balanced in late 2006, I had a bone density study (DEXA) that showed I had mild osteopenia.  Now, at that time I weighed nearly 300 pounds, never exercised, and could barely get up off the couch.  I had been taking Vitamin D for several years by then, but was not optimizing the levels as well as I am now. 

Fast forward 3 years, I had a repeat DEXA scan done in 2009.  The results were astonishing to both me and my physicians, not only did I no longer have osteopenia, but my bone density was comfortably in the normal range.  That's a huge improvement.  Dr. Carr, Dr. Hines and I attribute the improvement to bioidentical hormone optimization, particularly testosterone, Vitamin D optimization (Dr. Carr's optimal levels for his patients are between 70-100 ng/ml) and regular exercise with weights.  They don't even have to be heavy weights, I use light weights at home for upper body strength, and because of my back I can't lift free weights heavier than about 5-7 pounds. On the weight machines I am able to do between 20-40 pounds on most of the machines.  Obviously it is possible to improve bone health without using calcium supplements (and I must add that I do not get a lot of calcium from food, I don't do a lot of dairy outside a cup of low fat yogurt each day). 

Check out this article from USAToday.com about the increased risk of heart attacks in those who are taking calcium supplements.  The increased risk is pretty substantial.  As always, be sure to check with your health care provider before making any changes to your supplements regimen. 

I'll be back over the weekend, but just want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe Memorial Day weekend!  It's the unofficial start of summer, and I plan to celebrate by swimming outside!