And: A physician admonishes the Graedons for a column on vitamin D-3 and mouse poison that scared a patient. Plus, how to use milk of magnesia to sooth itchy skin and battle body odor.
Q: I love olive oil, but have been intimidated about using it. Heating it supposedly breaks down the olive oil and makes it bad for you. In fact, warnings about using rancid oils due to improper storage seem to be popping up all over these days. What can you tell me about the best way to store olive oil? I really want to maintain that robust olive flavor and the health benefits.
A: Some of the health benefits of olive oil are likely due to the plant compounds (polyphenols) as well as the monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) that predominates. Research has shown that the fats in refined olive oil deteriorate less at temperatures used for pan frying than those in corn, soybean or sunflower oils (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Sept. 29, 2014).
Spanish researchers found that storing high-flavor extra-virgin olive oil in plastic under light accelerates the breakdown of the phenolic compounds that give it the taste you treasure (Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society, Feb. 6, 2019). To maintain the best quality, store extra-virgin olive oil in dark glass containers in a dark cupboard and use it up in less than a year.
Q: A patient brought a copy of a column with a question concerning the use of cholecalciferol (vitamin D-3) in D-Con mouse poison. Your response totally ignored the context of its use.
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D-Con works by overwhelming a small creature with a very large dose of vitamin D-3. A person would not be able to get such a high dose from a dietary supplement.
Some researchers think the minimal dose to raise the serum level of vitamin D-3 to optimal levels (70 ng/mL) is 9,000 to 10,000 IU per day. Your article scared my patient into stopping her 4,000 IU daily intake. When you report health information out of context, you are doing a disservice to your readers and causing unwarranted concern.
A: We are sorry that your patient overreacted. As we pointed out, 4,000 IU is considered a safe dose for adults. People can take more than that, but they should do so only under medical supervision and monitoring.
People who would like to learn more about supplements in general and vitamin D in particular may be interested in a rigorously researched book, “Fortify Your Life,” by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog. Find it at libraries, purchase it for $16 plus $4 postage and handling from: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027, or order online at PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q: Itching under breasts is a real tribulation. After searching your site, I tried applying milk of magnesia to the itchy dry patches of skin under my breasts. After only one application, the itch is gone.
A: Topical milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) is a popular remedy for a lot of skin conditions. Some people use it for acne, rosacea or jock itch. Others apply it to their underarms as a deodorant. One reader shared her experience:
“I use inexpensive store-brand milk of magnesia. I open the bottle top and leave it ajar to let the liquid evaporate to become a thick cream. Then I apply a fingertip of this to each underarm daily. Thanks, People’s Pharmacy, for the idea. I have tossed my antiperspirants and only use this inexpensive treatment now to prevent body odor.”