How “Press Release Reporting” Skews Information

So here’s the deal: researchers in Germany asked nearly 25,000 people to regularly fill out a form on how frequently they had consumed 148 different foods over the previous twleve months. Then they were asked if they had taken supplements “regularly”–with regularly defined as daily use for at least a week, or five doses over four weeks. (Participants were not asked how much calcium or what form of calcium). Eleven years later, supplement versus non-supplement death rates and causes were compared.

So… An unknown amount of an unknown form of calcium supplements were associated with a higher risk of death from cardiac events…AND (from the study) older age, longer smoking duration, and lower education levels.

For more than a decade, it’s been well-known and well-documented that calcium carbonate–the cheapest and most common form of calcium used in supplements–isn’t all that great.  Some research shows its results are equal only to a placebo.  Calcium carbonate has in fact been linked to kidney stones and other health challenges.  However, mainstream supplements, like those found on standard drug store shelves, almost all use calcium carbonate.

But other forms of calcium–like calcium citrate–can do the opposite.  Without causing kidney stones. While strengthening bones, reducing muscle cramps, and so forth. I have never had a client come see me whose physician had explained the difference. I’ve had many clients improve bone density by switching their form of calcium.

And I’m really, really tired of folks relating the contents of researchers’ press releases.  And if the medical professional cannot–or sees no need to–distinguish between healthy and unhealthy form of a mineral, I know she or he isn’t going to give complete and accurate information.

Is it best to get your calcium from foods?  Absolutely. The body will get more usable calcium from greens than from dairy, though.  Supplementation can be a healthy alternative, as long as the right supplements are chosen.

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About blair

Writer, educator, speaker, karateka, and proud single parent. Actively wondering every day.
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