Did you ever notice how many reports there are on the news about nutiritonal supplements not working, organic food is no better, and if you remember way back, that smoking wasn’t harmfull either. But then there is another whole segment of the population (like me) who do say supplements can make a difference, organic is better, etc. So who is right?
This is all about the design of studies and the statistics they use. Lets look at each of these:
Design of Research Studies
Without going into great detail, lets just say that if someone has a preconceived idea of how they want the results to turn out they can design the study to support that. For example:
- A study a year ago said that calcium didn’t promote bone growth as well as the popular prescription drugs for osteoporosis. The recommendation – Get off of calcium and just take the drugs. The study looked at people supplementing with just calcium, or calcium plus vitamin D. The result, little bone regrowth. What they left out of the design was including magnesium, boron, silicon, and vitamin K. To regrow bone you need these in addition to calcium and vitamin D. Had they included all these ingredients in the supplements, then the results would have been much different as many other studies have shown.
- A recent study said that supplementing with calcium led to increased risk of arteriolosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Same as the study above, they left out several key ingredients like magnesium. If calcium and magnesium are taken in a 2:1 ratio, then there is no arterial hardening, or much less.
- How the subjects are selected. There was a very widely published study several years ago saying vitamin E had no effect on heart health. There were two problems here, one was they only looked at people who already had had a heart attack and could vitamin E alone prevent a second heart attack over a fairly short time. The other common problem is that they look at a single vitamin in isolation like they were studying a drug. You never eat a food that has only vitamin E, foods have a whole range of vitamins and minerals. For example vitamin E and C work in conjunction with each other.