The People's Pharmacy
People's Pharmacy: Clearing up confusion about vitamin D intake
People's Pharmacy answers queries on clearing up confusion about vitamin D intake; a recipe to combat cockroaches; and eating avocados to lower cholesterol.
Q: My doctor prescribed 50,000 IUs of vitamin D a week for about five weeks. After reading the recent news on vitamin D, I'm concerned that I am getting way too much.
A: A panel of experts recently modified its recommendation for daily intake of vitamin D from 200 International Units to 600 IUs. The Food and Nutrition Board suggested that most people do not need to take any extra vitamin D or calcium and should get their daily needs met through sun exposure or diet.
Your doctor is best able to determine if you are still deficient in this crucial nutrient. That is why he prescribed the large dose you have been taking.
The new guidelines suggest an upper limit of 4,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for healthy people. A weekly dose of 50,000 IUs exceeds that amount, but is prescribed for a limited time to correct a serious deficiency.
Q: What is the recipe to get rid of cockroaches? I saw a huge roach running across my cutting board while preparing Thanksgiving dinner. I was totally grossed out, but couldn't say a word because I didn't want to alarm my company. I remember reading something about boric acid and would like to know the exact details.
A: Hint expert Heloise has often offered a recipe for combating cockroaches, to be used in conjunction with thorough cleaning.
She advises: Mix 1/4 cup shortening with 1/8 cup sugar until creamy. Mix 8 ounces powdered boric acid with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 small onion, chopped fine. Combine these two mixtures, then add enough water to make a soft dough. Drop blobs into open plastic sandwich bags and place them under the sink, behind the stove and refrigerator, and in other places roaches might run. Be sure to keep them out of reach of pets and children.
Q: I have been tracking my cholesterol for more than six years on a monthly basis. I lost weight, hoping it would go down. I ate oatmeal every day, but nothing helped.
Then a year ago, I read that avocados can lower cholesterol. I started eating one every week. Since January, my cholesterol level has averaged 176. Before that, the average between 2004 and 2009 was about 215. Others may want to try this approach.
A: Your success is impressive. We found no recent research on adding avocados to the diet to lower cholesterol. But in the mid-1990s, several Mexican research teams conducted studies that indicated eating avocados could reduce total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (Archives of Medical Research, Winter 1996).
Avocados were once considered off-limits because they have such a high fat content. But research reveals that they are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids. These are the same type of healthful fats found in olive oil.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th floor, New York, NY 10019, or via their website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
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