New Study on Calcium Shows No Cause and Effect on Safety Issues, Says CRN—Calcium Is Still Essential Nutrient for Bone Health

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2013In response to a study, “Long term calcium intake and rates of all cause and cardiovascular mortality: community based prospective longitudinal cohort study,” published today in the British Medical Journal, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Taylor C. Wallace, Ph.D., senior director, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN: 

“We know that calcium is essential for bone health, especially if you are a postmenopausal woman at risk for osteoporosis. This study doesn’t change that fact and also demonstrates there are potential issues with too little calcium. The Institute of Medicine recommends women over 50 should obtain 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily, but also advises of a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), which is the point at which no adverse effects are known, of 2,000 mg daily—from all sources, including food and supplements. This study does not change those recommendations, nor should it. 

It’s important to understand that this study did not demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between calcium and heart health or all-cause mortality, and in fact, we are not aware of a single human study that does. There are some very specific flaws in this study, beginning with the fact that it was not set up to address the question it answered. Further, it did not adjust for the role of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and since science has gone back and forth as to whether HRT helps or hurts the heart, the jury is out as to how this might influence the findings.  

Consumers should be aware of how much calcium they are getting, from food and then from supplementation. However, with supplements you can clearly identify how much you are taking, while it is easier with food to forget to keep track, as you may tend to graze, with a piece of cheese here, and a glass of milk there. Pay attention to what you’re eating, and then supplement to fill in the gaps. Despite the way the medical journal has tried to promote this study, the fact is supplementing with calcium is a perfectly safe and reasonable approach to take. Consumers should remember to talk with their doctor or other healthcare practitioner about their individual calcium needs and what’s right for them.”

Note to EditorThe Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 100+ dietary supplement manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers.  In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit and Follow us on Twitter @crn_supplements and @wannabewell and on Facebook.