Magazine article Science News

Calcium, Vitamin D and Heart Disease

Magazine article Science News

Calcium, Vitamin D and Heart Disease

Article excerpt

Not only does the calcium in milk help to curb bone loss, but it may also impart some protection against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and clogging of blood vessels with plaque, according to an animal study in the February JOURNAL OF NUTRITION. However, that same study shows that when a calcium-rich diet also contains a substantial excess of vitamin D, the opposite occurs -- animals develop an elevated susceptibility to atherosclerosis.

Explains Donald Beitz, one of the researchers at Iowa State University in Ames, "Vitamin D plays a role in calcium deposition." Since plaque hardens as it matures, there was some suspicion that an excess of vitamin D might aid in this calcification. Working with groups of six male kids, the researchers fed each group of goats a diet with a different milk ration: plain goat milk, milk with 2 to 2.5 times the recommended calcium level, milk with 100 times the recommended vitamin D, and milk with double the calcium and 100 times the vitamin D. …

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