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March 12, 2010

Increased calcium intake associated with lower mortality from all causes over 10 year period

Increased calcium intake associated with lower mortality from all causes over 10 year period

An article published online on February 19, 2010 in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports an association between greater intake of calcium and a reduced risk of all cause mortality among Swedish men during 10 years of follow-up.

Alicja Wolk and associates at the Karolinska Institutet evaluated data from 23,366 men aged 45 to 79 who enrolled in the Cohort of Swedish Men between 1997 and 1998. Questionnaires completed by the participants were analyzed for calcium and magnesium intake from diet alone. Cause-specific mortality was determined for deaths that occurred between enrollment and December, 2006, and all-cause mortality was documented through 2007.

Over the follow-up period, 2,358 deaths occurred. Through 2006, there were 819 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and 738 by cancer. Men whose calcium intake was among the top one-third of participants at an average of 1,953 milligrams per day had a 25 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than those whose intake was among the lowest third, which averaged 990 milligrams. When deaths were analyzed by cause, having the highest calcium intake was associated with a 23 percent lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease compared to the group with the least intake. No association was found between calcium intake and cancer risk, and between magnesium and mortality.

The authors suggest that the protective effect of calcium suggested by this study could be explained by the mineral's ability to aid in the reduction of blood pressure, serum cholesterol and glucose. Greater calcium intake has also been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, a disease that has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality during specific periods studied. Dr Wolk and colleagues note that the lack of an association between magnesium and mortality observed in the current research could be due to the absence of deficiency in this study population.

The authors note that the study's findings are in line with results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized trial. "They are also in line with results from a prospective cohort study of 34,486 postmenopausal US women, in which the highest versus the lowest quartiles of dietary and total (diet plus supplements) calcium intake were associated with statistically significant 37% and 33% lower mortality from ischemic heart disease, respectively," they write. “Similarly, in an ecologic study, a high level of calcium in drinking water was associated with a statistically significant lower risk of noncerebrovascular (10%) and cerebrovascular (14%) causes of death among elderly people from the southwest of France."

"This population-based, prospective study of men with relatively high intakes of dietary calcium and magnesium showed that intake of calcium above that recommended daily may reduce all-cause mortality," they conclude.

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Health Concern Life Extension Highlight

Diabetes

The consequences of uncontrolled diabetes are severe: blindness, kidney failure, increased risk of heart disease, and painful peripheral nerve damage. Today, most practitioners focus treatment on strict blood sugar control. While diabetes is characterized by excess blood glucose (the form of sugar used by cells as energy), this simplified approach can actually hasten the progression of the most common form of diabetes and does nothing to address the damage it causes.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) improves blood sugar control, lowers blood pressure, and prevents oxidative damage caused by disease. In a controlled human trial, type 2 diabetics given 100 mg CoQ10 twice daily experienced improved glycemic control as measured by lower HbA1c levels and blood pressure (Hodgson JM et al 2002). In a separate study, CoQ10 improved blood flow in type 2 diabetics, an outcome attributed to CoQ10’s ability to lower vascular oxidative stress (Watts GF et al 2002). In a third study, improved blood flow correlated with decreased HbA1c (Playford DA et al 2003).

People with diabetes are often deficient in magnesium, which is depleted both by medications and by the disease process (Eibl NL et al 1995; Elamin A et al 1990; Tosiello L 1996). One double-blind study suggested that magnesium supplementation enhanced blood sugar control (Rodriguez-Moran M et al 2003).

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