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When is a Study not a Study?

When is a Study not a Study?

When one of the world’s largest dairy exporters funds a study that says Calcium supplements may cause heart attacks

Recently there have been a multitude of news stories in the papers and on television telling us that calcium supplements may lead to an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.

There was a study done about three years ago in which the calcium product, Caltrate was used. However they used the plain Caltrate and not the one with Vitamin D. It was later found that if your calcium supplement contained vitamin D or if you took vitamin D along with your calcium there was no additional cardiovascular risk.

A new study printed in the British Medical Journal and done by the Health Research Council of New Zealand said that even if Vitamin D was taken with calcium you still had a 25 per cent higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. But this was not an actual study. It was a meta-study or Meta analysis which means they gathered information from previous studies, picked the data that supported their position and proved their point statistically.

It turns out that this study was funded by a company called Fonterra, a New Zealand dairy company that accounts for 30 percent of all the world’s dairy exports. Their sales are over 16 billion dollars a year and they would rather you drink their milk than take calcium supplements. They also own a company called Sanlu in China that was found guilty of selling tainted milk powder that caused the death of 6 babies in China. I think this tells us a lot about their credibility as an international exporter of dairy and dairy products.

I have hundreds of questions about this widely reported news story about calcium and I find it deplorable that news media people do not look deeper into the sources for their stories.

If you are taking a calcium supplement and it contains Vitamin D just continue to do so and do not worry. It is true that milk and dairy products are one of your best sources of calcium but if you are lactose intolerant or just do not eat dairy products you can safely take your calcium supplement without any worries.


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