On July 29, 2010, the British Medical Journal published a flawed study of the usage of calcium supplements and associated risk of heart attack. The study misleadingly concluded that use of calcium supplements increases the risk of heart attacks by 27% and has no significant effect on overall mortality. The authors advise that the use of calcium supplements in treating or preventing osteoporosis should be reconsidered. Some in the media are broadcasting this study as a reason to stop using calcium supplements.
Please don’t stop your calcium supplements before reading more about the serious flaws in this study!
A major problem with this study is that it excluded people taking vitamin D, magnesium, and other common ingredients in bone protection products. As a result, the study participants generally had low levels of nutrients that are associated with lower risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease and are directly tied how calcium is used in the body. These nutrients all work together to keep calcium in the bones where it belongs, rather than building up calcium deposits in the vascular system and heart that can contribute to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Most adults who are getting regular preventive healthcare are familiar with the lipid panel performed as a routine check for cholesterol levels. What they may not know is that the standard lipid panel can only identify about 40% of the people who are at high risk for heart disease. The result of this is that many adults mistakenly believe they have reduced their heart attack risk when they are actually carrying around ticking time bombs that could be defused with improved treatment.
While the exact treatment for blood lipid problems varies, doctors seldom consider any such treatments without the test data to justify them. You could argue that the conventional cholesterol test actually increases the risk for heart attacks by leaving people unwisely complacent because of incomplete and inaccurate information about the nature of the fats in their blood. For instance, the LDL cholesterol number for “bad” cholesterol in the conventional tests is just a calculated estimate, not a direct measurement. It could be off significantly.
The VAP Cholesterol Test
A newer procedure called the VAP™ Blood Test (for Vertical Auto Profile) helps improve the ability to identify blood lipid patterns associated with heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Atherotech, the company providing the test, estimates that it can identify twice as many patients at high risk for heart attacks than regular cholesterol lipid panel tests and also identify patients likely to develop type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease that may not lead to heart attacks.
In recent years, multiple studies have shown there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and contracting multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disorder that results in the body attacking the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells. Worldwide, more than 2.5 million people have MS.