Dr. Donohue: Concerns over calcium supplements
By 2010 NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE INC.
Published: October 28, 2010
DEAR J.M.: Two studies, published in BMJ medical journals, show an increase in heart attacks in those taking calcium supplements.
This news is unsettling for those who faithfully take calcium in pill form, unless they are also taking vitamin D.
People can get all the calcium they need from food. The suggested daily intake is 1,000 to 1,200 mg. One cup of yogurt has 415 mg, and one cup of milk, 305. Both are available in low-fat forms. Two cups of yogurt and three of milk come close to satisfying the daily requirement.
DEAR J.S.: Teeth grinding has an official name, bruxism. It's not done consciously. It happens at night while sleeping and also during the day while fully awake. Teeth grinding, as you might imagine, is a disaster for teeth.
If you catch yourself grinding during the day or clenching your jaw muscles, relax those muscles by placing your tongue on the lower part of your upper front teeth and separating the upper from the lower teeth slightly. Doing this often keeps the jaw muscles from contracting.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am concerned about my 52-year-old sister. She has been taking antidepressants for many years. I believe she also has a drinking problem. When I try to speak with her on that topic, she insists that she only has two drinks a day.
I know she parties on weekends, and I know she would not discuss this with her doctor. — G.G.
DEAR G.G.: One drink a day is the suggested limit of alcohol for all women.
Alcohol used with antidepressants usually is discouraged. The addition of alcohol to an antidepressant can affect a person's alertness. The combination can be dangerous. Unless your sister's doctor has said she can use both, she should not.
As for the length of time a person is on antidepressants, a protracted period of use is often necessary to prevent a relapse. That part of your sister's story isn't worrisome. Her alcohol consumption is.