Calcium and Vitamin D

Oh, hey, hi there. How’s everyone doing?

It’s February, that dreaded, dark, gray, rainy month where not a whole lot good happens in Seattle. The light is starting to come back, we’re past the winter solstice but it’s still really dismal. Are you taking your vitamins? Are your kids taking their vitamins? There’s a lot of chatter out there in the world about how much Vitamin D we all should be taking. This new chart came out in late November and I think it’s a great guide. You can read the whole article that went with it here.

7 thoughts on “Calcium and Vitamin D

  1. Alyssa

    Good information. I wonder where they printed the possible conflicts of interest for the committee members?

  2. Katherine Post author

    Barb, thanks for sharing. I read a similar article in the New Yorker. It is disturbing but not surprising. It really seems possible that anyone could link anything to cancer. I wish I had a good way to sort out the truth from fiction.

    Alyssa, first the question about conflict of interest… Are the committee members vitamin sales people?

    Thanks for the interesting discussion!

  3. Alyssa

    I will try to crank this out best I can during the kiddo’s naptime. Here goes:
    So, my background includes being (amongst other duties) an admin with a publications peer review committee for a big randomized controlled clinical trial. I am glad the committee focused on the possible risks when they looked at this issue. Its nice to have that safety catch, and it is annoying when the RCT’s catch up with the recommendations after the fact ( like with beta-carotene/CARET study).
    They are not sales people to my knowledge (though we can’t tell if any of them receive funds from drug companies from this part of the report), but I don’t think that is the only way you can have a conflict of interest.
    Dr. Manson is starting a study (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/02/the-hunt-for-healthy-answers/) that is administering 2k a day of D. If the committee came out and said 2k or something close was the recommended dose, to me, it seems to weaken her research’s punch (imagine reading it and saying, “well, that’s nice to have the trial confirm it, but duh, the feds already knew that.”), and it certainly would not get the headlines in the NYTimes from Ms. Parker-Pope.
    Manson’s ability to pull in future grant money is in part based on how well the study (and all her others, of course, she’s a busy lady) goes. If it is limited or compromised because the recommendations changed during the study, that affects her future cash flow.
    If the recommendations change and her subjects start thinking they need more D to be healthy, they’ll take more and may or may not report that accurately. Her statistical unit will have to try to adjust for that, and peer review will grumble about that being a weakness in her study.
    So, that’s my opinion. Some Vit D discussion boards look like they think the same thing.
    Full disclosure: My other beef with Manson is she seems to think that “the jury is still out” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/29/health/research/29hormone.html) in regards to HT and cardiovascular risks or cancer (she used to get money from Wyeth, I don’t know if she gets money from whatever company bought them or not). I happen to strongly disagree with her on that point, as do a great number of other people with a more stats and epi classes more than me.

  4. Alyssa

    While I am harping on full disclosure, one further possible CoI for me: I had a blood D3 level of 17 during my pregnancy with my daughter. That is scary low for those of you playing along at home. I got severe, but slowly progressing, pre eclampsia (post due date, small favors) and ended up with what I still call one of the mellowest emergency C-sections ever. One month after my daughter was born, an interesting and conservatively worded article stressing further study was published about the risks of Pre-E to mothers with low D (http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/92/9/3517). My practitioner and I sent simultaneous emails to each other to the effect of “whoa, still prelim research, but CREEPY, huh?”
    While pregnant with my son, my D was still low, but WAY better. And no Pre-E, just some high pressure readings the last week. Hmm, probably coincidence, but again, CREEPY.
    Oh, and Dr. Manson was one of the PI’s on the study I worked for. But I didn’t even ever get a holiday card from her, to the best of my memory. :)

  5. Alyssa

    Yes, more than the recommended amt, too, I might add. And, I am still taking a relatively large dose now. Why, as a person of Scandihoovian descent, I am not able to get enough from just blinking at the sun, I have no idea. My dad (the primary source of the Scandihoovian) got “clocked” at 14 nmls (I think that’s the measurement…). He doesn’t wear sunscreen and gardens from 5 am until 10 or 11am. Weird.

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