walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Heh, heh, heh: Don't Take Calcium Pills edition

My mother was (presumably still is) a huge believer in vitamin supplements. I spent my 20s discovering things like, hey! Some vegetables taste really great, especially when they aren't covered in sick-inducing (for me, anyway) dairy products! Also, I _love_ vinegar and thus a whole bunch of salad dressings that my mother never let any of us experience because she hates the stuff. Etc.

Anyway. Long story short, I quit taking the vitamins (C, a general and calcium was pressed upon me when I started really cutting the dairy out), started feeling _way_ better and ate a whole lot more vegetables. Life was good.

I periodically got sucked back into the whole calcium thing, but I'd take a new one for a while (liquid, food-based, with tons of magnesium, etc.), and then get annoyed with it and quit again. I've recently concluded that taking calcium supplements, like virtually all vitamins, seems to just make me queasy and feel awful.

Needless to say, running across this made me chuckle:

http://jezebel.com/5984777/calcium-supplements-may-have-been-shitty-for-women-this-whole-time

I'll dig for a better link to the original study later; my son wants me to read more of his home log to him.

ETA: This might be it:

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f228

From the Introduction:

"The serum levels of calcium are strictly regulated and an insufficient calcium intake is met by a more efficient intestinal absorption and renal conservation of calcium. Calcium is also mobilised from the skeleton, which can lead to bone loss1 and subsequent risk of fractures."

I've always focused on the idea in the first of those two sentences; my mother was obsessed with the second. Really, what we're dealing with is trust in the body's mechanisms vs. trust in a bunch of pills someone is selling you by making you fear yourself. This isn't a hard choice to make, at least not for me.

ETAYA and then I'm going to stop. I feel like we've had decades of recovering from old ideas about who died of heart attacks. For a long time, the classic heart attack was a middle-aged, overweight, never exercised, smoking man who suddenly engaged in a bout of exercise (shoveling snow being the big one). Even as various components of this changed, the identification of heart disease with men lasted a long time, even while heart disease remained the biggest killer of women. It took us forever just to recognize that heart attacks looked really different in women than in men, and we're still slowly working through the backlog of whether the stuff that was studied in men applies to women and whether it needs to be adjusted or not. Big news story there being, of course, that dosage REALLY matters, and all the doses tested in college aged, healthy men are wrong for elderly people, especially women. But whatever.

This study is Yet Another Example of someone suddenly realizing, hey! We're in a forest! Forget those two trees over there -- this is a forest! All that calcium crap was there to justify a dairy industry and/or do something about osteoporosis that didn't involve exercise, sunshine and reducing protein consumption generally. Meanwhile, the real issue wasn't really osteoporosis: it was heart disease.
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