Calcium supplementation in patients with essential hypertension: Assessment by office, home and ambulatory blood pressure

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Abstract

Objective

To study the effects of a high calcium intake in hypertensive patients by blood pressure monitoring.

Design

In a randomized crossover study, patients were assigned to an 8-week calcium supplementation period and an 8-week control period. The subjects were given 25 mmol/day (1 g/day) of calcium as calcium carbonate during the intervention period.

Setting

A hypertension clinic in a tertiary teaching hospital.

Patients

Sixty untreated or treated hypertensive patients (35 men and 25 women, mean age 58 years) with office systolic/diastolic blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg.

Main outcome measures

Office blood pressure, home blood pressure (last 7 days), and ambulatory 24 h blood pressure (every 30 min using TM-2421).

Results

The serum calcium concentration and urinary calcium excretion increased significantly with calcium supplementation. Office, home and 24 h blood pressure were lower in the calcium period than in the control period, although the differences were small (mean ± SEM office blood pressure: 1.2 ± 1.2/1.1 ± 0.7 mmHg; home blood pressure: 1.9 ± 0.7/1.3 ± 0.6 mmHg; 24 h blood pressure: 1.2 ± 0.8/0.9 ± 0.5 mmHg,), and significant only for home systolic and diastolic blood pressures. The difference in home systolic blood pressure was inversely correlated with the level of home blood pressure in the control period and with the difference in urinary calcium. The difference in 24 h systolic blood pressure was positively correlated with the control level of urinary calcium. Age, sex, antihypertensive medication, drinking habit, sodium intake or order of treatment did not significantly influence the effects of calcium supplementation.

Conclusions

An increase in calcium intake tends to lower office, home and ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive patients. However, the antihypertensive effect is too small to support the general application of a high calcium intake in the treatment of hypertension.

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