Sunday, April 30, 2006

Calcium Helps, Doesn't Help, Helps...

Here we go again!

In February, the widely held belief that Calcium
supplementation helps prevent osteoporosis was shot
down by a report from the Women's Health Initiative Study.
Monday, April 24, 2006, the Archives
of Internal Medicine published a study
that swings
us back to the belief that it works after all. What
should we believe?

Sometimes studies leave us with confusing and
conflicting results. Studies may need to be redesigned
or repeated before we'll know the truth.

This is a case where the interpretation of the study
and study design led us to believe calcium has no
effect erroneously.

The WHI study reported results of women who were in
the group that was SUPPOSED to take calcium. However,
not all of them actually did! When statistically
insignificant results were reported, it was because of
compliance, not efficacy. When the results are
analyzed for women who actually took their calcium,
there was a 29% lower risk of hip fractures than those
who didn't. It also found a 21% reduced risk for women
over 60, even if they weren't consistent in taking
their supplement every day!

Further disrupting the results of the WHI study, women
in the control group could've been taking hormone
replacement therapy or other medications that can
prevent bone loss, or taking calcium without being
told to.

In the study reported in the Archives of Internal
Medicine, women who took at least 80 percent of their
600 mg calcium supplement twice a day, had a 44%
reduction in fractures!

Conclusion from all the recent studies: take the
doctor recommended 1200 mg of calcium with vitamin D
a day if you're a woman over 50.

Committed to your health,

Friday, April 14, 2006

Fast Food Poison

Processed food companies and restaurants have made tremendous changes since the FDA regulated the listing of trans fats on nutritional labels. I wrote an article detailing the negative effects of trans fats and the changes that have been made.

Unfortunately not enough changes have been made yet.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a new study April 13, with a shocking statement about just how bad trans fats are for you. "The daily intake of about 5 g of trans fat is associated with a 25 percent increase in the risk of ischemic heart disease."

I knew that trans fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, but that new statistic really drives home just what a huge impact it has. A few handfuls of cookies or chips and you could increase your risk 100%!

The study found trans fats were used more frequently in McDonald's and KFC french fries and chicken nuggets in this country than some others, so the regulations of disclaiming what's in your food hasn't been enough. It's time to choose other restaurants and foods that won't kill you!

P.S. Here is a USDA list itemizing high trans fat items.

Committed to your health,