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Calcium pills raise heart risk in older women

Older women who take calcium supplements to maintain healthy bones could be increasing their risk of heart attacks, according to new research.

The study adds to mounting evidence that calcium supplements increase the risk of cardiovascular events, particularly heart attacks, in older women.

These supplements are often prescribed to post-menopausal women to maintain bone health but the authors of the research suggest that their use in managing osteoporosis should now be reassessed.

The new research, led by Professor Ian Reid at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, follows the Women's Health Initiative study -- a seven-year trial of more than 36,000 women which found no cardiovascular effect of taking combined calcium and vitamin D supplements.


But the majority of participants were already taking personal calcium supplements, which may have obscured any adverse effects.

Prof Reid's study looked at data from 16,718 women who were not taking personal calcium supplements at the start of the trial.