Alzheimer’s Disease and Calcium Supplements

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

It is recommended that men and women between the age of 20 years and 50 years of age should obtain ~1000mg dietary calcium each day, with a daily upper limit of 2000-2500 mg depending on age and sex. Foods containing calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, some small fish such as sardines, as well as fortified foods such as breakfast cereals.

Milk, cheese, and cream - dietary sources of calcium - a photo by Africa Studio

Africa Studio | Shutterstock

Calcium supplements can be taken in addition to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, in order to maintain bone strength, as well as supporting cardiovascular and nervous system health. This is especially useful for people who have an increased risk of conditions such as osteoporosis. Calcium supplements can safely be taken by young to middle-aged people in addition to a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle.

In order for calcium to be effectively absorbed into the bloodstream, the body requires vitamin D. Vitamin D is naturally obtained from sunlight exposure, in addition dietary sources such as salmon and eggs.

Calcium supplements and Alzheimer’s Disease

Despite recommendations, a recent study in Sweden has shown that older women that take regular calcium supplements may actually increase their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The study looked at 700 women who initially didn’t have dementia. Over a 5 year period, 8% of these women developed dementia. When the data was further segregated, it was observed that dementia developed in 14% and 7% of women who did and did not take calcium supplements, respectively.

It is important to note that the percentage of women who developed dementia was very low. Secondly, the women on calcium supplements who went on to show features of dementia had a history of stroke. Therefore, women without a history of stroke who take calcium supplements are unlikely to have an increased risk of developing dementia.

Furthermore, this study was purely observational and had a relatively small sample size. These findings therefore need to be validated through a larger cohort in a randomized controlled clinical study to make definitive conclusions.

No observations have yet been reported in men. In addition, the study only looked at Swedish women, and therefore may not be representative of women in general. For example, Sweden has less sunshine hours compared to more equatorial locations, suggesting that vitam. There may be ethnic differences or perhaps geographical influences. For example, differences in the total vitamin D levels due to lower daylight exposure may influence calcium absorption.

In summary, calcium is a critical component of daily diet, and is required (1000 mg/day) to support a healthy body. Therefore, ensuring adequate calcium levels are taken is important. The only elevated risk in developing dementia reported so far is in older women who take additional calcium supplements and have a history of stroke. It is recommended that such women not take any calcium supplements, but ensure they also meet their daily requirements.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Dr. Osman Shabir

Written by

Dr. Osman Shabir

Osman is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield studying the impact of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis) on neurovascular function in vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease using pre-clinical models and neuroimaging techniques. He is based in the Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease in the Faculty of Medicine at Sheffield.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Shabir, Osman. (2023, March 13). Alzheimer’s Disease and Calcium Supplements. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 19, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Shabir, Osman. "Alzheimer’s Disease and Calcium Supplements". News-Medical. 19 May 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Shabir, Osman. "Alzheimer’s Disease and Calcium Supplements". News-Medical. (accessed May 19, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Shabir, Osman. 2023. Alzheimer’s Disease and Calcium Supplements. News-Medical, viewed 19 May 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Study uncovers mutation impacting Alzheimer's progression