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Can taking calcium supplements lead to an increased risk of dementia?

New research published this year in the journal Neurology and reported by Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests the use of calcium supplements by women may lead to an increased risk of developing dementia in some cases.

Researchers in Sweden discovered the possible link during a study of 700 women, who ranged in age from 70-92 years old, while they were participating in two separate studies where researchers noted which of the participants were taking calcium supplements.

The women in the two studies were given CT scans and evaluated for dementia five years into the study. During these evaluations, the research team discovered that among the women who showed evidence of cerebrovascular disease, there was between three to seven times increased risk of developing dementia. Dementia risk was only slightly higher among those who took supplements and showed no signs of cerebrovascular disease.

While the results of this study are certainly startling and worth researching more, it's important to note that because the study was not randomized and controlled, but rather observation based, it cannot be determined that the calcium supplements were the actual cause of the dementia. It does however add to the mounting evidence that calcium pills may increase the risk of vascular disease in women. This, and similar studies, are certainly worth following to see what new information can be gained from those looking for links in the future.


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