The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    The bottom line on calcium supplements

    Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have written a succinct review.

    Let’s cut to the chase.

    Risk of heart attack

    • A meta-analysis suggests that calcium supplementation without coadministration of vitamin D is associated with an increased incidence of heart attack.
    • More studies evaluating the cardiovascular effects of calcium supplementation, with and without vitamin D, are needed.

    Benefits for bone loss.

    • A meta-analysis revealed that the benefit of calcium on fractures is minimal — about a 10% risk reduction in all fractures.
    • Patients with significant fracture risk should take medications with proven efficacy.
      • But it’s too soon to abolish calcium supplementation.

    Benefits for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women

    • Patients are still encouraged to consume adequate calcium.
    • Calcium supplements should be recommended only to patients who consume insufficient calcium from dietary sources.

    The bottom line?

    Here what to remember about calcium treatment.

    • Prior to initiating calcium supplementation, a healthcare team should estimate daily calcium intake.
    • Calcium supplements do not apply to calcium-rich foods.
    • There are no reported cases of calcium intoxication from dietary calcium sources.
    • Because the calcium in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of calcium, it’s preferred to supplements.
    • Lactose-intolerant patients and those on a strict vegetarian diet should be encouraged to obtain calcium from nondairy or calcium-fortified products.

    3/14/11 20:24 JR

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