Changes in vascular calcification and bone mineral density in calcium supplement users from the Canadian Multi-center Osteoporosis Study (CaMOS)


      • Calcium supplements, used to prevent osteoporosis, have been linked to cardiovascular events.
      • Females using calcium supplements had greater progression of aortic calcification over 5 years.
      • Females using calcium supplements did not have preserved bone mineral density.
      • Calcification may contribute to cardiovascular events in calcium supplement users.


      Background and aims

      Calcium supplements have been associated with increased cardiovascular events. This study investigates the relationship between calcium supplement use and the 5 year progression of abdominal aorta calcification (AAC) in participants from one center of the Canadian Multi-Centre Osteoporosis Study (CaMOS).


      Participants (n = 296; 217 women and 79 men) had lateral spine X-rays and DEXA bone mineral density (BMD) scans (femoral neck, lumbar spine and total hip) taken at two time points within a 5 year interval. AAC was assessed using the Framingham Method. Calcium supplement use was assessed by a facilitated health history questionnaire and medication inventory.


      AAC significantly increased over 5 years, AAC progression was significantly greater in calcium supplement users, as compared to non-users, overall and in females. The amount of calcium was positively correlated to AAC progression. A multi-variable linear regression model was generated for women only, as there were not enough men for multivariable modelling. Calcium supplement use and amount remained significantly associated with AAC progression after adjustment for age, hypertension, diabetes and smoking history. Change in AAC score was not associated with change in BMD T-Score. In univariate analyses of males, calcium supplement use was associated with a significantly greater BMD loss at the lumbar spine, hip, and femoral neck.


      Older female calcium supplement users had significantly higher AAC progression over 5 years, but did not have any significant BMD preservation. These results suggest that vascular calcification may contribute to the cardiovascular events observed in calcium supplement users.

      Graphical abstract


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