Vinegar & Osteoporsis

What is the relationship between white vinegar and osteoporosis you might ask?

Well, a few weeks ago I read on a web board that not all calcium supplements are created equal. If the pills don’t break down, your body will not absorb the calcium.

The woman who wrote the post was being treated for osteoporosis. She was told that a cheap way to test a calcium supplement is to put the calcium pill into a glass of white vinegar for 20 minutes. White vinegar has a similar pH as the inside of a human stomach. If the pill is not at least partially dissolved, your supplement is likely to be ineffective.

I put my wonderful all natural calcium citrate ( reputed to be the most absorbable form of supplemental calcium ) pill, perfectly balanced with magnesium and vitamin D2 into a glass of white vinegar.

Twenty minutes later the pill was still intact. Ouch.

Believing what you read on the internet, especially web boards, is similar to believing what you read in those newspapers in the check out line at the super market.

Is this test really meaningful?

I asked the registered dietitians at the The Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore Maryland. They emailed me this response:

There is a group, the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) which is an official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the counter medicines. They have a standard test that measures how well calcium supplements dissolve. Scientists have compared the USP’s method to the method you describe using white vinegar and found that the results were comparable. In other words, if a calcium supplement doesn’t dissolve well in white vinegar, it raises a concern that the supplement won’t dissolve well in your stomach. Hope this helps.
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD
Nutrition Advisor, The Vegetarian Resource Group

That is the bad news.

The good news is that a quick web search shows that it is easy to buy calcium citrate powder. Pill crushers can also be bought in most drug stores for under $10, so you can make use out of any supplements you already have.

I got this response from Jack Norris, vegan RD:

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8 thoughts on “Vinegar & Osteoporsis”

  1. for a second i thought this post was going to be about vinegar = osteoporosis, so phew on that, at least…

  2. Are you sure your tablet wasn’t meant to be slow-release? It is actually better for the calcium to be released very slowly…your body can absorb and utilize it more effectively…a huge spike in calcium could just lead to calcification of soft tissues.

  3. Msun;

    Yes, I read the label to my bottle before I posted. There is also “slow release” and “no release”, as in not getting any calcium because the tablet will not dissolve or dissolve soon enough as Consumer Reports found.

  4. Msun;

    The experts who worked with Consumer Reports would agree with you, but the point was if the supplements dissolve in time so a human body can absorb them. That doesn’t look like the case here.

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