Calcium Supplements and Risk of CVD: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials
Huo X., Clarke R., Halsey J., Jackson R., Lehman A., Prince R., Lewis J., Baron JA., Kroger H., Sund R., Armitage J.
Background: Vitamin D supplements may only be beneficial for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures when administered with calcium and in individuals with low blood levels of 25(OH)D, but possible hazards of calcium supplements on CVD cannot be excluded. Objectives: We conducted a meta-analysis of all placebo-controlled randomized trials assessing the effects of calcium supplements alone or with vitamin D on CHD, stroke, and all-cause mortality. Methods: A meta-analysis of 11 trials included 7 comparisons of calcium alone compared with control (n = 8634) and 6 comparisons of calcium plus vitamin D compared with control (n = 46,804). Aggregated study-level data were obtained from individual trials and combined using a fixed-effects meta-analysis. The main outcomes included MI, CHD death, any CHD, stroke, and all-cause mortality. Results: Among trials of calcium alone (mean daily dose 1 g), calcium was not significantly associated with any excess risk of MI (RR, 1.15; 95% CI: 0.88, 1.51; n = 219 events), CHD death (RR, 1.24; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.73; n = 142), any CHD (RR, 1.01; 95% CI: 0.75, 1.37; n = 177), or stroke (RR, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.90, 1.46, n = 275). Among 6 trials of combined treatment, supplementation with calcium plus vitamin D was not significantly associated with any excess risk of MI (RR, 1.09; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.25; n = 854), CHD death (RR, 1.04; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.27; n = 391), any CHD (RR, 1.05; 95% CI: 0.93, 1.19; n = 1061), or stroke (RR, 1.02; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.17; n = 885). Likewise, calcium alone, or with vitamin D had no significant associations with all-cause mortality. Conclusions: This meta-analysis demonstrated that calcium supplements were not associated with any significant hazard for CHD, stroke, or all-cause mortality and excluded excess risks above 0.3%–0.5% per year for CHD or stroke. Further trials of calcium and vitamin D are required in individuals with low blood levels of 25(OH)D for the prevention of fracture and other disease outcomes.