Calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Myths and realities with regard to cardiovascular risk

Giovanna Muscogiuri, Luigi Barrea, Barbara Altieri, Carolina Di Somma, Harjit Pal Bhattoa, Daniela Laudisio, Guillaume T. Duval, Gabriella Pugliese, Cédric Annweiler, Francesco Orio, Hana Fakhouri, Silvia Savastano, Annamaria Colao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Vitamin D and calcium are considered crucial for the treatment of bone diseases. Both vitamin D and calcium contribute to bone homeostasis but also preserve muscle health by reducing the risk of falls and fractures. Low vitamin D concentrations result in secondary hyperparathyroidism and contribute to bone loss, although the development of secondary hyperparathyroidism varies, even in patients with severe vitamin D deficiency. Findings from observational studies have shown controversial results regarding the association between bone mineral density and vitamin D/calcium status, thus sparking a debate regarding optimum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calcium for the best possible skeletal health. Although most of the intervention studies reported a positive effect of supplementation with calcium and vitamin D on bone in patients with osteoporosis, this therapeutic approach has been a matter of debate regarding potential side effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system. Thus, the aim of this review is to consider the current evidence on the physiological role of vitamin D and calcium on bone and muscle health. Moreover, we provide an overview on observational and interventional studies that investigate the effect of vitamin D and calcium supplementation on bone health, also taking into account the possible CV side-effects. We also provide molecular insights on the effect of calcium plus vitamin D on the CV system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-617
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Vascular Pharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Bone health
  • Calcium
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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