In May of this year, I wrote a column called “So done with medical science” after articles began appearing in both scientific journals and the popular press that calcium supplements, the sacred cow of medical advice for women, could actually cause you harm.
I’ve never had a primary care doctor who didn’t caution that artery-clogging saturated fat puts you on the fast track to counting worms. Still, since a whole display case of coconut oil had magically appeared in my local supermarket, and Dr. Oz said it was OK, I decided to add a jar to my basket. But I only got five steps before the chest pains started and I put it back. It's like Mao waking up one morning and exhorting the Chinese to embrace democracy. I may have jettisoned the calcium supplements, but I don’t think I have enough life expectancy left to embrace coconut oil as a health food. I’d probably end up dying from a reverse placebo effect: in my heart (literally and figuratively), I know it will kill me.
As for new findings in the vitamin world, a June article in the New York Times entitled “Don’t Take Your Vitamins” maintained that even non-megadose use of vitamins has been shown to increase mortality and cancer risk. So have all those years of vitamin ingestion only hastened my demise? I am beyond annoyed. You can positively feel the breeze blowing through my empty medicine cabinet these days.
Of course, not all the news is bad. Mere weeks after the calcium news came the revelation that 60 years of research has been wrong and that now it’s good to be pear shaped. It has NEVER been good to be pear shaped. Looking like an Anjou has always been linked to an early death. Now the word is we pear shapes are getting an extra ten years. I may have to re-do my estate plan.