Women who take calcium supplements may be at a higher risk for dementia, compared to women who don’t take these supplements. Moreover, the risk is particularly high in women who have already sustained a cardiovascular event resulting in poor blood flow to the brain such as stroke.
The research found a seven times greater risk of dementia among stroke survivors supplementing with calcium, compared to women with no stroke history or who did not supplement.
Dementia risk was also tripled in supplementing women with white matter brain lesions, compared to non-supplementing women with white matter lesions.
Because the study cannot establish causality, the researchers suggest speaking with your doctor about your risk of dementia before stopping of any supplementation.
Many seniors, women in particular, take calcium supplements as a means to reduce their risk of osteoporosis. The recommended intake for seniors is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.
Further research is necessary to determine whether other nutrients have the same effect and to further examine the pros and cons of calcium supplementation. Previous studies have found it can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Again, speak to your doctor prior to making any decision with regards to your current supplementation practices.