When Health Scares Go Wrong

Gwyneth Paltrow learns that human beings did not evolve in caves.

Gwyneth Paltrow learned that staying out of the sun could have health consequences when she was diagnosed with a severe Vitamin D deficiency.

Like many stars, the "Iron Man" actress insisted on staying out of the sun and covered up for summer trips, but then she learned her caution was costing her good health.

..."This led my western/eastern doctors in New York to test my Vitamin D levels, which turned out to be the lowest they had ever seen (not a good thing). I went on a prescription strength level of Vitamin D and was told to … spend a bit of time in the sun!

"I was curious if this was safe, having been told for years to stay away from its dangerous rays, not to mention a tad bit confused as we are all well schooled in the dangers of overexposure to the sun."

Next up -- an increase in anorexia from the obesity panic?


  1. Brian:

    Doesn't it seem that a country where some rich bint can have a team of "western/eastern doctors" is not one where the government needs to take over health care?

  2. anon:

    Speaking of gullibility and health, this is my favorite homeopathic story:


    "Two law enforcement sources said the overdose appeared to be intentional, though a person close to Alexa Ray said she only ingested a homeopathic antihistamine called Traumeel."

    (of course, the media has it wrong -- Traumeel is a homeopathic remedy that allegedly reduces inflammation and pain).

  3. MicroNomics:

    Coffee --> Nose --> Keyboard

    Sure glad she had all of those fancy doctors or she could have been well on her way to a Darwin Award.

  4. Maria:

    I'm not a Gwyneth fan, but the Vitamin D problem in women isn't that uncommon. I'm very pale and use sunscreen often because of it, but not all the time and I was put on prescription strength Vitamin D for the same reason. However, I also drive a convertible so get plenty of no sunscreen sun.

  5. Val:

    Yep... Just like all of her kind are well educated about economics, science, history, and most importantly, critical thinking skills. How amazing.

  6. epobirs:

    The moment she utters that 'western/eastern' idiocy, you know whatever follows will be pathetic for a woman of her lifelong wealth and privilege.

    Science doesn't operate on a spin the compass dial and see what approach we take today basis. It's purely works or doesn't work. That is the sole basis for choosing a system of supposed treatment. Without 'western' medicine, humans would still be dying by the millions of things like small pox, which we've so conveniently forgotten. 'Eastern' medicine's score on that front: nil.

    Required link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

  7. Lailah:

    Amazing that the only remotely intelligent comment was from a woman.

    Guys, women are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Stay out the sun, it causes a Vitamin D deficiency. Get out in the sun, we (supposedly) age prematurely.

    Good lord, we can't win.

    And then she comes out and talks about it, and a bunch of ignorant men slam her about it. So freaking what if she uses both Western and Eastern medicine? Sounds to me like she's just covering her bases.

    Let's slam her for being too thin, and then again when she gains 10 pounds for being too fat while we're at it.

  8. Noumenon:

    My best guess is that it's Vitamin D that's the new fad and the sunscreen advice that was the good one. Questioning the link between vitamin D, sun, and skin color.

  9. Lere:

    Vitamin D deficiency linked to genetic polymorphisms None of the genes were linked to skin pigmentation.

    Why are Europeans white?

    A study of highly sun exposed (tanned) heathy young skateboarders and surfers in Hawaii found levels below the proposed higher minimum of 30 ng/ml in 51% of the subjects. The highest 25(OH)D concentration was around 60 ng/ml (150nmol/L).[39] A similar study in Hawaii found a range of (11–71 ng/mL) in a population with prolonged extensive skin exposure while as part of the same study Wisconsin breastfeeding mothers were given supplements. The range of circulating 25(OH)D levels in women in the supplementated group was from 12–77 ng/mL. It is noteworthy that the levels in the supplemented population in Wisconsin were higher than the sun exposed group in Hawaii (which again included surfers because it was the same data set)

  10. Lere:

    Doctors don't know what they're doing with vitamin - D 'severe Vitamin D deficiency' indeed.

    Medicare Considers Denying Payment for Routine Vitamin D Testing

  11. Noumenon:

    Thanks Lere, that's a better link than I had.

  12. epobirs:

    Tough shit, Lailah. Don't want to go out in the sun? Take some supplements. If you're going to make a choice, be prepared to address the consequences. They covered this back in grade school in the 70s. If Paltrow got to adulthood without ever taking note of this, the fault is hers and her parents. Has anyone told her about scurvy?

    And the the West/East bit isn't 'covering the bases.' It's indulging in idiocy to make her feel 'enlightened' while not actually paying the price. Make a list of all the serious diseases 'Western' medicine has successfully prevented, treated, or cured. Then make the same list for 'Eastern' medicine. You'll noticed the first list is rather lengthy and the second rather short. This is because one is based on scientific method with real testing rather than made up nonsense with a rare valid observation thrown in. It really matters.