4 Ways too Much Calcium Harms Your Health

Many people take calcium supplements, because they’re worried they won’t get enough calcium from food. But the truth is you can easily get the recommended 1,000-1,200 milligrams per day by increasing your intake of calcium-rich foods, like broccoli, tofu, molasses, sesame seeds and collard greens.

Taking excessive calcium doesn’t lead to stronger teeth and bones. As you’re about to see, a high intake of calcium increases calcium levels in your blood, which consequently increases your risk of disease.

I should note that you can have high blood calcium levels even when your calcium intake is low. Overactive parathyroid glands, cancer and some medications may cause hypercalcemia, a condition in which calcium levels in your blood are above normal. However, this article focuses on the effects of high calcium intake. Here’s how too much calcium harms your health.

Woman in Store Looks at Supplements

1. Mortality Risk

A Swedish study found that high calcium supplementation might shorten your lifespan. The researchers followed 61,433 women for an average of 19 years. They used questionnaires to track their food and calcium supplement intake.

After considering other factors—such as diet, physical activity and smoking—they concluded that women who consumed more than 1,400 milligrams of calcium had more than double the risk of death from heart disease. In addition, they had a 40 percent risk of death from other causes.

The lead author said that people don’t need calcium supplements if they’re maintaining a well-balanced diet.

2. Kidney Stones

When you consume too much calcium your kidneys have to work harder to filter it. This may lead to frequent urination and thirst. However, you should be more worried about the crystals that form when your urine contains too much calcium. These crystals slowly combine to form kidney stones.

According to a 2015 study, calcium supplementation could lead to kidney stones. The study involved 6,050 patients with a history of kidney stones. Researchers collected urine from 2,061 patients for 24-hours before supplementation. Then, 1,486 patients took calcium supplements, 417 took vitamin D and 158 didn’t take any supplements.

Patients who took calcium supplements had a faster rate of kidney stone growth. Those who took vitamin D had decreased stone growth as well as urinary calcium excretion. As you can see, vitamin D supplementation may help prevent kidney stones.

3. Irregular Heartbeat

Calcium does more than keep your bones strong, it helps nerves transmit signals and muscles contract. When you have too much of it in your blood, it may affect the rhythm of your heartbeat, research shows.

Research has also linked low blood calcium levels to an irregular heartbeat.

While these foods may help fix an irregular heartbeat, you need to see a doctor if have the problem, because this condition can cause sudden death.

4. Kidney Failure

As I explained earlier, too much calcium overworks the kidneys, and this can lead to kidney failure over the years. Even though kidney failure due to high blood calcium levels is rare, the effects are more severe.

Do you take calcium supplements? Have you experienced any side effects?

Images via Getty

73 comments

Peggy B
Peggy B9 days ago

Noted

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Marie P
Marie P16 days ago

TYFS

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Christophe B
Christophe Bazin19 days ago

Thank you.

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Kevin B
Kevin B20 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Lisa M
Lisa M21 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M21 days ago

Thanks.

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Mike R
Mike R21 days ago

Thanks

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Richard B
Richard B22 days ago

thank you

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lynda leigh
lynda l24 days ago

People don’t need calcium supplements if they’re maintaining a well-balanced diet.

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Janis K
Janis K24 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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