A patient of mine just yesterday sent me a concerned email asking whether or not Dr. Gupta's report that calcium supplementation can potentially cause heart attacks is true. She also asked if Gupta was right about vitamin supplements being dangerous essentially because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not approve the use of nutritional supplements. My response is essentially this....I am no fan of Dr. Gupta because he's is just a "media-guy" and has no health or nutrition training. Having worked with FOX for years, and being a sought-after health expert, I can tell you first hand that sensationalism is first on the mind of reporters...and truly helping the public is a distant second! In the case of calcium and heart disease, YES reports have shown that excessive calcium intake can potentially contribute to cardiovascular disease.
What does the science say about calcium?
As thorough review of many studies called a Meta-analysis has shown that too much calcium, without proper vitamin D3, can increased one's risk of heart attack - check it out: http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c3691.long. The point of this scientific review, and I touch on this idea more below, is that too much of a single nutrient is not good. This is why trained nutritional professionals, and not untrained physicians, should be the one's recommending nutritional supplements. On the other hand, according the the National Cancer Institute (NCI), dietary calcium plus calcium supplements, experienced a lower colorectal cancer risk.
Here is what the NCI website says about calcium supplements and calcium in the diet:
"In the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, the diet, medical history, and lifestyle of more than 120,000 men and women were analyzed (8). Men and women who had the highest intakes of calcium through both their diet and supplement use had a modestly reduced risk of colorectal cancer compared with those who had the lowest calcium intakes. However, the benefit from calcium appeared to plateau, or level off, at an intake of approximately 1200 mg per day. When calcium from the diet was analyzed by itself, no reduction in colorectal cancer risk was found. However, the use of calcium supplements in any amount was associated with reduced risk. This association was strongest (a 31 percent reduction in risk) for people who took calcium supplements of 500 mg per day or more."
Gupta reports what he is told to report and takes the side of most controversy - because in the minds of the media this is what the public wants! Gupta's the guy who first said, "marijuana is bad" and was against it becoming legal but then, embarrassingly for him, suddenly switched his opinion when public outcry and backlash was for the legalization of marijuana. In the case of calcium causing heart disease - he is PARTIALLY right. The key is to determine how much calcium is need for a particular person for a particular health issue (or prevention) and to properly balance one's diet with the right nutritional supplements. As a Blood Detective this is what I do all day long. And as far as supplements being bad and unproven because the FDA does not approve Gupta is either insanely ignorant or just plain stupid!
Gupta is not so smart!
Gupta seems not to know that the FDA does not have the job to regulate the vitamin industry except in a few very limited circumstances. This is the same FDA that consistently approves various medications as safe for human consumption that are often eventually proven to be dangerous having caused hundreds of deaths or injurious side-effects- resulting from a corrupt FDA releasing unsafe medications into public use (maybe it has something to do with the fact that half of the FDA approval board are also on the board of the very medications that are often up for approval!!). You want proof that various vitamins, mineral, herbs and other nutritional supplements work to help maintain health, manage disease and treat disease? No problem! Just check the National Institutes of Health website (www.pubmed.com) to find over 3 million scientific citations (abstracts of scientific studies) going back from 1966 to the present. The trick is knowing how to search the data base. Have a question...just ask me, the Blood Detective, and I'll send you links that prove scientifically that nutritional supplements have a place in health care and disease prevention and treatment. So much for the FDA and no proof!
Nutritional supplements can offset one's risk of heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and hundreds of other health problems and this is a scientific fact! Why isn't Gupta talking about the known problems with medications prescribed by physicians every day? Read these stats below describing how many injuries, deaths and the costs of deadly drugs consumed every day by Americans taken from the CDC (Center of Disease Control) website:
Prescription Drug Overdose in the United States: Fact Sheet
Drug: Any chemical compound used for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or injury, for the relief of pain, or for the feeling it causes. A drug is either a pharmaceutical (including both prescription and over-the-counter products) or illicit.
Overdose: When a drug is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin in excessive amounts and injures the body. Overdoses are either intentional or unintentional. If the person taking or giving a substance did not mean to cause harm, then it is unintentional.
Misuse or abuse: The use of illicit or prescription or over-the-counter drugs in a manner other than as directed.2
Deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States.1 Every day in the United States, 105 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 6,748 are treated in emergency departments (ED) for the misuse or abuse of drugs.2 Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.3
- Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2010. Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.1
- Drug overdose death rates have been rising steadily since 1992 with a 102% increase from 1999 to 2010 alone.1
- In 2010, 30,006 (78%) of the 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the United States were unintentional, 5,298 (14%) of suicidal intent, and 2,963 (8%) were of undetermined intent.1
- In 2011, drug misuse and abuse caused about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits. Of these, more than 1.4 million ED visits were related to pharmaceuticals.2
- Between 2004 and 2005, an estimated 71,000 children (18 or younger) were seen in EDs each year because of medication overdose (excluding self-harm, abuse and recreational drug use).4
- Among children under age 6, pharmaceuticals account for about 40% of all exposures reported to poison centers.5
Most Common Drugs involved in Overdoses
- In 2010, of the 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 22,134 (60%) were related to pharmaceuticals.6
- Of the 22,134 deaths relating to prescription drug overdose in 2010, 16,651 (75%) involved opioid analgesics (also called opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers), and 6,497 (30%) involved benzodiazepines.6
- In 2011, about 1.4 million ED visits involved the nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals. Among those ED visits, 501,207 visits were related to anti-anxiety and insomnia medications, and 420,040 visits were related to opioid analgesics.2
- Benzodiazepines are frequently found among people treated in EDs for misusing or abusing drugs.2 People who died of drug overdoses often had a combination of benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics in their bodies.6
- In the United States, prescription opioid abuse costs were about $55.7 billion in 2007.7 Of this amount, 46% was attributable to workplace costs (e.g., lost productivity), 45% to healthcare costs (e.g., abuse treatment), and 9% to criminal justice costs.7
- Between 1998-2002, people who abused opioid analgesics cost insurers $14,054 more than the average patient.8
Risk Factors for Drug Overdose
Among those who died from drug overdose in 2010:
- Men were nearly twice as likely as women to die;
- American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest death rate, followed by whites and then blacks;
- The highest death rates were among people 45-49 years of age; and
- The lowest death rates were among children less than 15 years old because they do not abuse drugs as frequently as older people.1
Among people who misused or abused drugs and received treatment in emergency departments in 2011:
- 56% were males;
- 82% were people 21 or older.2
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) [online]. (2012) Available from URL: http://wonder.cdc.gov/mortsql.html.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Highlights of the 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) findings on drug-related emergency department visits. The DAWN Report. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2013. Available from URL: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN127/sr127-DAWN-highlights.htm
There was not even one death caused by a vitamin supplement in 2010, according to the most recent information collected by the U.S. National Poison Data System.
The new 203-page annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, published online at http://www.aapcc.org/annual-reports/, shows zero deaths from multiple vitamins; zero deaths from any of the B vitamins; zero deaths from vitamins A, C, D, or E; and zero deaths from any other vitamin.
Calcium and Heart Disease
I have been telling my patients, teaching in seminars and writing in my books and articles over the last 25 years that taking the wrong supplements at most is a waste of money, but can cause some serious health problems. Well-trained nutritionists have never denied this and the medical profession themselves has routinely, and still does, recommend calcium supplements in high dosages for people with osteoporosis (bone loss). Here is the long and short of it:
- Too much calcium in the diet or in the form of nutritional supplements can rarely raise blood calcium levels (very, very difficult to do), and can cause bone loss. How does this happen? The more calcium you eat the more your hormonal system pulls calcium from bone causing osteopenia and osteoporosis! That's right! Calcium can cause osteoporosis? This is why I use bone meal which is not just calcium but is a natural bone-meal containing tens-of-thousands of natural compounds found in bone and has not been shown to cause problems like taking just calcium itself can.
- Too much calcium intake may cause calcium to leach out of bone. Once this happens the body needs to put this calcium somewhere. Some of this calcium may end up n the kidneys causing calcium-kidney stones; some of the calcium may end up in the arteries causing arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries; some of the calcium may end up in the breast tissue causing calcium-laden breast cysts that are highly associated with increased risk of breast cancer. But that's not all! Some of this calcium may end up in the joints causing arthritis; some of the calcium may deposit in the brain causing all sorts of neurological issues including seizure and memory issues. These are just a few of the problems that can occur when one takes too much calcium. But...IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE GUPTA!!
Calcium Does Not Exist In A Vacuum!!
Calcium requires healthy levels of stomach acid to become "ionized" meaning converted into the most useful form in the body. So I always check my patients absorption abilities. Calcium use in the body requires vitamin D3 in the proper dosages; the dose that's best for the person MUST be based upon blood levels of vitamin D3 - And NO! Just because you take vitamin D3 does not mean you have reached the best levels for overall health or calcium use. Calcium use is depending upon proper protein balance, is adversely affected by eating too much animal protein, inflammation, stress, refined and processed sugars, being dehydrated and other factors.
DR. WALD'S ADVICE
Get your blood checked for a lots of nutritional factors. AND NO! BLOOD CALCIUM LEVELS ALMOST NEVER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH CALCIUM BALANCE IN THE BODY...with a few exceptions. High calcium in the blood can be from a cancerous process that has spread (metastasized) through the bone, a condition caused hyperparathyroidism, laboratory error, dehydration, protein deficiency, too much vitamin D3 and a few other reasons. Do this.
1. Get a Blood Detective work up! Dr. Wald is the Blood Detective and knows how to read your blood for hidden problems and nutritional issues that your doctors often miss. Just ask Dr. Wald's patients how many issues that he has found only after many of his patients have suffered for years...and that he FIXED with properly balanced nutrition much in the forms of nutritional supplements.
2. Consider this form of basic bone support, but not only this - Dr. Wald's product called Calcium Micro Complex (a form of bone meal) found here: http://www.blooddetective.com/calcium-micro-complex
Be proactive! Don't believe everything you hear on TV!
Dr. Michael Wald
About Dr. Wald - Contact: www.BloodDetective.com (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and www.IntMedNy.com (email@example.com)