Thursday, June 14, 2012


Eat Yogurt, Get a Little Sun

"It is clear that lower doses of calcium and vitamin D do not prevent fractures, and there is a small but measurable risk of kidney stones."
—Unsurprisingly, "Healthy Women Advised Not to Take Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Fractures" has crested atop the Times' most-emailed section.

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First strenuous exercise doesn't actually help, and now I don't have to worry about calcium supplements? I love you, Hairpin/Science!


This is Important@m


"there was insufficient evidence to recommend taking vitamin D with or without calcium to prevent fractures"

"The supplements also have been studied to see if they prevent cancer. But, the group said, there is insufficient evidence to say they do or do not"

"she and other osteoporosis experts already knew the supplements did not prevent fractures"


Heat Signature

@Scandyhoovian This is hilarious to me, because there is insufficient evidence to support literally anything, so let's all just relax and enjoy our lives.


@Heat Signature i think you mean let's worry about everything all the time!


@Heat Signature
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that gay marriage leads to fundamentalists subconsciously humanizing gay couples, which in turn leads to tummy aches.


Just in case you were wondering if getting around that "you can only read 10 free articles online/month" thing nytimes.com was trying is easily circumvented by clearing all your cookies from them... Yes, yes it is. They are not even disguised under an ad server name or something to force you inconvenience yourself by clearing everything.

This doesn't put the "brilliance" of their publication in quite the perspective that the trend pieces do... But it doesn't help.


@themmases Ohhh, good to know!

Atheist Watermelon

@themmases ooh! I use google chrome, so all I do is go to the tools tab at the right corner of my browser and click on "new incognito window". Then you can look at all the articles you want! STICKIN IT TO THE MAAAAN!!! ;-)


@LittleBookofCalm Oooh, good idea! The version of Firefox I have at work also has "Private Browsing," but I'm paranoid that IT will somehow know I did that and I'll have to explain that I wasn't looking at porn, I was just... stealing NYT articles on my desk break?


@themmases I just hit the stop button after the article finishes loading, but before the page loads fully. Works everrry time.


@terrific or if you look at the URL, you can delete everything that comes after "article-name.html"! also works every time.


@terrific You can also go up to the URL and delete the "?" and everything after it.

They've got to know how easy it is to get around the paywall. I suspect they're treating it more as a way to induce guilt-driven payments than anything.


@mangosara jinx!


@TheBelleWitch fortunately for me, I don't feel guilt! whoops! FREE NEWS!


@mangosara If NYTimes were a nonprofit news source a la NPR or something, I might feel guilty. Or if they were a smalltime operation struggling to keep afloat and being run by regular people out of somebody's basement, I might feel guilty. But as long as they're ostensibly in this to try and make a profit, I feel very little remorse about weaseling into some free articles!


@themmases For revealing this magic knowledge to me, I am in love with you. Off to read EVERY NYT ARTICLE EVER.


Usually supplements aren't effective because they're taken alone, without food. In order for many nutrients (calcium being a prime example) to be effective, for the body to use them as they are meant to be used, they need to pair with other nutrients. So taking a supplement on an empty stomach is really ineffective. Taking it with food is slightly more effective. Eating a well-rounded diet with lots of variety is most effective.


@teenie Eat more cheese? Fine, fine.


@JessicaLovejoy haha, yes cheese - but also leafy greens, whole grains, yadda yadda.

I saw a really interesting study done on women, over a number of years. The group who took supplements without food had the highest number of kidney stones. The group who took supplements with food had good bone density, no increased rate of kidney stones. And the group who didn't take supplements had a variable bone density (depending on diet and other factors), with no increased rate of kidney stones.

So looks like I'm gonna take supplements and eat well.


Okay, so I can't sit all day, but I shouldn't exercise strenuously, and I shouldn't do the calcium thing (even though I will, milk 4eva), and practically everything will kill me?

KTHXBYE. Off to eat breakfast cereal for lunch (?) and sit in a flying metal box for the rest of the day.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I love that the unintended consequence of having access to all sorts of information and knowledge is the realization that NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING.


@JessicaLovejoy Socrates is all TOLD YOU SO


@theharpoon Descartes is giving the international sign for "neener neener" and saying you can know whatever you want, but you can't be sure your mind isn't fooling you.


These articles are so confusing. I previously was under the impression that most everyone (in the U.S. anyway) was vitamin D deficient because the most common source of it is sunlight. It's like these articles come in pairs of yes/no.


@Txistu I think somebody publishes something, and then some other researchers with contradictory findings/that journalist's nemesis beat feet to publish their own thing.


Just speaking personally, I stumbled upon an amazing obgyn who ran a bunch of blood tests on me simply because my chart indicated no one had for a while. I was ridiculously low in D and pretty low in calcium, so I was prescribed suppliments.
I don't eat too terribly either, so I'm wary of the claim that most people will get enough from diet alone. Particularly with the typical American diet.
But I could just be more typical than I think, so...


@NeverOddOrEven Happened to me too, and even taking the supplements hasn't raised my levels significantly. Weight can be a factor (I'm heavy) but my dad has the same problem and he's really thin. But everybody has skin cancer so I'm staying out of the sun and taking the supplements anyway.


The headline on this one is a bit misleading. If you read the article, the study was on postmenopausal women only. So we can only make conclusions that follow from that. For many people, diet and sun exposure alone don't provide us with adequate vitamin D. I take a supplement every day because my doctor said to. I see no reason to stop doing that. I'm trying to do everything I can here in my 20s to keep my bones healthy.

Does Axl have a jack?

@pinecone Bones aside, I take vitamin D every day to avoid getting the sads. Yay vitamin D!
(eta: I meant sads as in weepy blahs, not SAD. But of course they're probably connected.)


@armyofskanks vitamin D is also supposed to be really good for your immune system (unless that was disproven, but I don't think so?). So you are probably doing great things for your body. There are plenty of reasons to take it beyond osteoporosis, which is why the recommendations of this study seemed... oddly universalizing.


@armyofskanks Yeah, I'm not worried about my bones, but depression has been a problem for me. I was pretty blown away by how much vitamin D improved my moods.

Tragically Ludicrous

@harebell Since I started taking D supplements about 3 years ago (always with food at dinner!), any cold I got has lasted for way less time. My roommate had a cold that lingered for weeks, but when I got it it lasted like, two days. This cold be all coincidental, but eh, why not?


@pinecone Of course those dinky little Calcium w/vitamin D pills do not have NEARLY enough vitamin D to raise your levels if you're post-menopausal and already deficient. A doc I worked for would prescribe a high dose regimen for three months, then do a blood test. But, for us in our 20s, probably the supplement is enough to edge us back up into normal levels.


"Unsurprisingly, "Healthy Women Advised Not to Take Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Fractures" has crested atop the Times' most-emailed section."

Hi, moms! There should be a widget that you can install that will detect when you're emailing these articles and automatically email you a reply of "Thanks, this looks really interesting! I love you, mom!".


Can we add one that creates an automatic reply of, "I don't know. Google it." as well?
I would save me a lot of frustration.


@NeverOddOrEven it's been done!

well, kind of


I had heard of that but never saw it in action. That is incredible.
But sadly I think the whole thing would still be lost on my mother.

Can we start a support group of People Parenting Parents? Or maybe I could write a book...


@wharrgarbl If only my mom were this internet savvy. She still calls me up to read me the article from the paper.


@Amphora That is some next-level momming, right there.


@wharrgarbl Since she's retired and my only other sibling is in Africa, I unfortunately get the Full Force of Mom.


Well, I'm not going to let these Vitamin D gummies go to waste, whether or not they do me any good!


Nooooo my research is on Vitamin D because it's such a popular supplement/thing doctors test for and then tell their patients to take right now. Stop telling people not to take it! I need sweet sweet grant money.


@VDRE They said Lower Doses. Of course those won't work! Aren't most Americans at like a third of the Vit D levels we should be?


@VDRE So your username stands for Vitamin D Research Expert!


@Xanthophyllippa Actually it stands for Vitamin D Response Element but I like yours better?
and @Amphora it's some crazy amount, especially in the winter. I feel dumb not knowing numbers after saying that I work on Vitamin D (I swear I do!) but I haven't had to justify my research for a while so I don't know anymore?

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