It’s time for another phony vitamin scare — and this time, ladies, they’re coming for your calcium.
The headlines are screaming about how women who take calcium supplements have a higher risk of dementia… and that if you take them yourself, your risk of getting the disease will DOUBLE.
It’s enough to make you want to toss your calcium in the trash — but don’t throw it out just yet, because there’s a devil hiding in the details.
The study finds that for most women, the risk is ZERO.
That’s right. Calcium supplements WON’T increase your risk of dementia at all… in most cases.
The only time the risk pops up is in women who’ve had a stroke or the type of brain damage that marks a “silent” stroke or higher risk of having a stroke.
For those women, calcium supplements can increase the risk of dementia by a stunning 700 percent, according to the study.
But even if you’ve had a stroke, you STILL don’t have to throw away your calcium supplements — because there’s more to this than meets the flimsy reporting that’s been making headlines.
The study had a very small sample size, so it’s hard to say if the risk is really that big or if it’s even there at all.
But let’s assume for a second there’s at least some risk, because there’s a simple reason it could happen: Your calcium supplement on its own is worthless. In some cases, it might even be dangerous!
It’s called the “calcium paradox” because without a little help, most of it goes right through you.
It’s as if you didn’t take it at all.
Since your body isn’t absorbing the calcium, it starts looking for another place to get it — and it turns to the stash hiding in your bones. That calcium gets sucked out of the bone where it’s needed, and into the blood — where you definitely DON’T want too much floating around.
It can gum up your arteries, increasing your risk of a heart attack. It can cause damage in the brain — perhaps leading to the dementia risk in the study. And since it’s being sucked out of bone, you could end up with a higher risk of a break or fracture despite taking calcium supplements religiously.
Scary? You bet it is! Don’t worry; there’s an easy answer. Vitamin K sweeps through your bloodstream and pushes calcium back into the bone.
It’s not gumming up the arteries, and it won’t hurt your brain. It’ll just do what it’s supposed to do.
On the downside, vitamin K promotes clotting, so not everyone can take the stuff. Talk to your doc about your options.
And to REALLY get the most of your calcium — including benefits to heart, bone, brain, and more — make sure to boost your intake of magnesium and vitamin D.