Experts warn public against consuming high calcium milk powder

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Medical experts have warned that consuming milk products with a high calcium content could lead to various complications.

Prof. Sisira Siribaddana of the Rajarata University Faculty of Medicine and President of the Sri Lanka Osteoporosis Association yesterday warned people not to consume milk products with a high calcium content.

Prof. Siribaddana told The Island that there were many milk products in the market with high calcium content.

Adequate amounts of calcium could be found in the food that Sri Lankans ate, he said, pointing out that when a person consumed powdered milk containing a high percentage of calcium, he or she was liable to contract many diseases.

Excess calcium could harden the arteries causing hypertension, stroke, various forms of cancers and kidney stones, Prof. Siribaddana said. Calcium was essential during infant stages to develop bones. Excessive consumption of calcium was harmful, he stressed.

Professor Sarath Lekamwasam of the Karapitiya Faculty of Medicine (Center for Metabolic Diseases) said that the normal Sri Lankan diet contained sufficient calcium. Extra calcium intake was never recommended by doctors. If taken excessively calcium could cause many health complications. Different types of cancers, bladder diseases and vascular diseases could be precipitated by a high intake of calcium.

Prof. Lekamwasam added that it was the practice of many milk food manufacturing companies to promote their products through various means. "We are concerned about the recent reports of dicyandiamide and botulinum contaminated milk products imported from New Zealand.

"The Osteoprosis Association Sri Lanka does not recommend milk powder with or without added calcium for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. The association empahsises the need for a healthy diet and physical activity."

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