Junk science: negative study on calcium and vitamin D supplements was poorly constructed, yet widely reported

Thursday, April 28, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of (See all articles...)

eTrust Pro Certified

Pin It
Based on a new research study published in The Lancet (April, 2005), newspaper headlines around the world are proclaiming that senior citizens should throw away their calcium supplements and turn to prescription drugs as their primary treatment for osteoporosis and bone fractures. Gee, what a convenient message for Big Pharma. It's not like we haven't heard this before: remember the recent effort to try to convince people that vitamin E would kill them?

Of course, thanks to direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, Big Pharma practically owns the mainstream media these days. Stories that discredit vitamins and recommend expensive prescription drugs are met with the big "thumbs up" from influential advertisers like drug companies. That must be why journalists around the world leaped on this story and started parroting distorted conclusion (throw away your calcium supplements!) without actually bothering to read the study.

In fact, in looking at ten different articles in the mainstream press, I didn't find a single article that actually mentioned the dosage of calcium of vitamin D that was given to patients. I only found two stories that mentioned the very low compliance rate of study participants. About half the people didn't even take their supplements! Didn't these journalists ever think that these details might matter?

But here's the really interesting part: when you look at this study closely, the whole thing falls apart. Here's why:

  • Anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the patients failed to take their supplements
This indicates very low compliance with the study. And since 1/3 of the study participants self-reported failing to take the supplements, it is almost certain that more than 1/3 actually failed to take the supplements since people always tend to over-report their compliance. So we may have a study where 50% or more of the "participants" didn't actually participate. At that level of non-compliance, you can hardly call them study "participants."

  • Levels of vitamin D before the study were not measured
If this study is supposed to look at the effects of calcium and vitamin D, then why wasn't the vitamin D level of participants measured before the study began? Was this study conducted in Northern states, or Southern states? Because geography has everything to do with sunlight, which in turn has everything to do with vitamin D levels in the general population. None of this was even mentioned in the study, meaning that we have no way to know whether vitamin D levels were actually improved by supplementation.

  • The study did not compensate for poor hydrochloric acid production in the elderly
If you want to design a study that shows calcium supplements to be useless, strategy number one is to choose a segment of the population that has poor hydrochloric acid production. Namely, the elderly. Guess who was chosen for this study? The elderly, of course. And a good nutritionist would have told them to supplement with acidic substances or digestive enzymes in order to enhance the chemical breakdown of calcium in preparation for absorption in the small intestine. Yet this was never addressed in the study.

  • The doses of supplements used were not therapeutic
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book: if you want to "prove" that supplements are useless, just run a clinical trial using very low doses. In this particular case, calcium was supplemented at 1000mg, and vitamin D and 800 IU per day. While these doses aren't ridiculously low (like we've seen in some vitamin E studies), they are nowhere near the levels that would be used therapeutically. A good compounding pharmacist might recommend double that dose of calcium, at least for a time. And vitamin D for therapeutic use in those who are deficient is often prescribed at a dose of 50,000 IU for short durations, followed by a maintenance dose closer to 800 IU.

  • The control group was given information on diet and strategies for reducing the risk of fractures and falls
You have to remember that the logic of this study says that calcium and vitamin D supplements are useless because there was no difference in the number of fractures between the study group and the control group. But if you could find another way to reduce fractures in the control group, then you could effectively make the supplements in the study group appear useless. This was accomplished by giving the control group information on improving their diet and reducing the risk of bone fractures.

So it could very well be that both groups had a reduced risk of bone fractures, but since that reduction was the same in both groups, the study declares that supplements are useless. The key here is in recognizing that the control group wasn't really a control group. It was another variable group, where the method of intervention was education rather than supplements. If you teach a thousand senior citizens how to prevent falls, you're going to see a reduction in falls and fractures, regardless of bone mineral density. It could mean that education is a very good strategy -- just as good as supplements. They could be equally effective at preventing bone fractures.

Again, not one of the mainstream press stories that reported this bothered to examine the facts on this study. I haven't found a single journalist covering this study who actually looked at the structure of the study with any degree of skepticism. It just goes to show you: the mainstream press will print anything, no matter how ridiculous the conclusions, as long as it appears to come from a legitimate source and agrees with the financial interests of advertisers.

The bottom line? This study was poorly designed, poor followed, and ultimately comes up as junk science. Yet it's being touted by pharmaceutical-funded newspapers and media outlets around the world as an "A-ha!" moment, proving that calcium supplements and vitamin D supplements are useless. Faced with this information, what should consumers do now? Take more drugs, no doubt. Drugs which, by the way, are typically only "proven" through the construction of carefully distorted, selective studies that exaggerate their benefits and minimize their risks.

To think that calcium and vitamin D don't enhance bone health is, all by itself, rather astounding. Dozens of previous (and better designed) studies have looked at this issue and have shown a clear 30% - 40% reduction in bone fractures due to wise supplementation with calcium and vitamin D. But organized medicine wants you to think that somehow the body doesn't need nutrition. Instead, its promoters want you to believe that only prescription drugs can help you -- as if toxic, synthetic chemicals were somehow more important for human health than the natural bone-building substances provided by nature for which our bodies were actually designed.

You can add this study to the heap of advice designed to discredit nutritional supplements. Defenders of organized medicine and pharmaceuticals will stop at nothing to try to convince the entire population to throw away their supplements and buy more prescription drugs. And if that doesn't work, they'll just try to get the FDA to ban all the supplements as was recently tried in Europe via the CODEX Food Supplements Directive, which sought to outlaw thousands of nutritional products.

For anyone really interested in how to have healthy bones, here's how to do it. My own Bone Mineral Density score (BMD) is 2.51, which you can see on my health statistics page. This score is very high when it comes to Bone Mineral Density. I did it by avoiding all prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs and working only with naturopathic physicians, not MDs.

Here's what works:

  1. Get calcium from natural sources -- green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes, spirulina, calcium supplements, and so on.
  2. Take your calcium supplements with acidic foods or supplements -- in order to assimilate the calcium in your digestive tract, you need to be able to break it down at a chemical level. Most younger people have no trouble with the production of hydrochloric acid for this purpose, but older people tend to have impaired acid production. This is especially pronounced in those over 60. So consuming acidic foods or supplements (black vinegar supplements, tomatoes or tomato sauce, pineapples, etc.) can help with digestion and assimilation of calcium and other minerals.
  3. Get natural sunlight on your skin to produce vitamin D -- the majority of Americans are vitamin D deficient, and without adequate sunshine on your skin, you'll probably never get enough (unless you supplement with cod liver oil or other natural vitamin D sources). Without adequate vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed in your small intestine.
  4. Engage in weight-bearing exercise -- by stressing your bones with weight-bearing exercise, your body will respond by creating stronger bones, with higher bone mineral density. (Be sure to work with a doctor, naturopath or physical therapist before engaging in any exercise program.)
  5. Stop believing every news story you read that says "vitamins don't work" and "you should take more drugs." These are pure disinformation, designed to boost the profits of Big Pharma at the expense of your health. Be a skeptical consumer.

Today, it's amazing what passes for "scientific" medicine. Under the guise of so-called science, medical researchers can come up with any conclusion they want. The vitamin E studies are a perfect example of this: they were carefully constructed with gerrymandered statistical curves to create the illusion that vitamin E is somehow bad for your health.

With the right motivation, researchers can design a study to say anything they want. They could create a study that "proves" water is bad for you... or sunlight... or air. Just because some new study has been announced in the mainstream press doesn't mean it's true. More often than not, it's just a way to appease their advertisers -- the drug companies.

As usual, it's all about selling you more high-priced drugs rather than giving you information that might actually help you stay healthy. If you want REAL health information, read Or check out the ebooks at That's where you'll get courageous, straight talk on how to be a healthy human being, without spending a dime on prescription drugs.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Articles Related to This Article:

Natural breakthrough for blood sugar control: Glucotor supplement clinically proven to reduce blood sugar as well as diabetes drugs, without the side effects

Flawed St. John's Wort Study on ADHD Failed to Use Active Form of Herbal Extract

Human medical experimentation in the United States: The shocking true history of modern medicine and psychiatry (1833-1965)

Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 - 2007)

Study "Disproving" Mercury-Autism Link Published in Journal with Financial Ties to Vaccine Manufacturers

Media hoax exposed: Recent attack on vitamins a fabricated scare campaign

Related video from NaturalNews.TV

Your NaturalNews.TV video could be here.
Upload your own videos at NaturalNews.TV (FREE)

About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2010, Adams created, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He also founded an environmentally-friendly online retailer called that uses retail profits to help support consumer advocacy programs. He's also the founder and CEO of a well known email mail merge software developer whose software, 'Email Marketing Director,' currently runs the NaturalNews email subscriptions. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and martial arts training. He's also author of numerous health books published by Truth Publishing and is the creator of several consumer-oriented grassroots campaigns, including the Spam. Don't Buy It! campaign, and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. He also created the free reference sites and Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the ending of corporate control over medicines, genes and seeds. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

 people have commented on this article.

Related Articles:

Natural breakthrough for blood sugar control: Glucotor supplement clinically proven to reduce blood sugar as well as diabetes drugs, without the side effects

Flawed St. John's Wort Study on ADHD Failed to Use Active Form of Herbal Extract

Human medical experimentation in the United States: The shocking true history of modern medicine and psychiatry (1833-1965)

Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 - 2007)

Study "Disproving" Mercury-Autism Link Published in Journal with Financial Ties to Vaccine Manufacturers

Media hoax exposed: Recent attack on vitamins a fabricated scare campaign

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...

Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Dear Donald Trump: Blockade the lying mainstream media and recognize the independent media as America's real free press
Kellogg's found to have financial ties to the money man for cop-killing left-wing HATE groups: George Soros

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play