Ask the Diva: How to Keep Calcium out of Arteries

Calcium supplements seem to lead to calcium accumulations elsewhere in the body -- is there some way to prevent this? Nutrition Diva explains

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Ask the Diva: How to Keep Calcium out of Arteries


Q. I am trying to get information on how to prevent calcium (whether from food or supplements) from going to my arteries instead of my bones. I have heard magnesium or K-2 is what directs calcium away from arteries. Is that true?

A. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recently recommended that women past menopause stop taking calcium supplements. Not only do supplements not seem to be preventing fractures but they can lead to calcium accumulations elsewhere in the body—such as the arteries (increasing heart attack risk) or kidneys (which can lead to kidney stones). 

One of the reasons I like to see people getting calcium from food rather than supplements is that calcium-rich foods like dairy products and leafy green vegetables also contain other nutrients—like magnesium, vitamin D and K—which help make sure that the calcium ends up where it’s supposed to be (in the bones) and not where it can cause problems. See more in this episode on Diet for Healthy Bones and this one on Best Sources of Calcium.

And for more on the latest recommendations on vitamin D and calcium supplements and what they mean for you, listen to my recent interview with Tom Hall on WYPR-FM.

Smiling bone photo from Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.