The mineral calcium works with magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin D to support bone health. It's also responsible for other functions in your body, including nerve function and regulating blood pressure. Evidence also indicates that calcium affects your heart and is required for proper heart health.
Calcium plays a significant role in heart function, according to a review performed by researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During electrical conductivity, calcium is released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, a structure found inside muscle fibers, and helps your heart beat and contract properly. Any disruption in the release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum can impair heart function, according to research reported in the March 2003 issue of the "Journal of Clinical Investigation."
High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart, since it has to work harder to pump blood through your body. In addition, hypertension damages blood vessels that lead to your heart, which can block blood flow and increase your risk of a heart attack. Scientists at McMaster University in Canada reported in the January 1999 issue of the "American Journal of Hypertension" that calcium supplementation leads to a small reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Obesity increases your risk of developing plaque inside your artery walls, narrowing arteries and decreasing blood flow. This is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other heart problems. Calcium may help prevent the onset of obesity by controlling calcitriol, a hormone that contributes to fat storage and decreases fat burning. Inadequate calcium levels increase calcitriol, whereas adequate calcium levels decrease the release of the hormone. The findings were reported in the January 2005 issue of the "Journal of the American Board of Family Practice."
If you're taking any medications, such as alendronate, cholesterol-lowering medications and digoxin, they may interact with calcium supplements, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Consult your health-care provider before taking any supplements.
- "Journal of Clinical Investigation"; Calcium and the Heart: A Question of Life and Death; Andrew R. Marks; March 2003
- "American Journal of Hypertension"; The Influence of Dietary and Nondietary Calcium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: An Updated Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials; L.E. Griffith et al.; January 1999
- "Journal of the American Board of Family Practice"; Dietary Calcium Intake and Obesity; Sarina Schrager; January 2005
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Calcium; 2011