Many calcium supplements contain lead, a potentially dangerous substance even in small amounts. The body can safely s...

Ava on July 28, 2020

D v E

Can someone explain to me why the answer is E? I didn’t think many of the answer choices were great but ended up choosing D.

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Shunhe on July 29, 2020

Hi @Ava-Pacchiana,

Thanks for the question! So first let’s recap what’s going on in this stimulus. We’re told that a lot of calcium supplements have lead which can be dangerous. The body can store super small amounts in bones, but lead in the blood is bad. But despite this, doctors think that people taking calcium supplements with lead is better than not taking them at all.

Now we’re asked to resolve this paradox. And how should we do this? Well, we should expect the answer choice to have something to do with telling us why not taking the calcium supplements is worse than taking them with calcium supplements with some lead.

Now let’s take a look at (E). It tells us that when calcium intake is insufficient, then the body draws calcium from bones, which releases stored lead into the bloodstream. Well, if that’s the case, then it’s completely possible that the lead released in those cases would be more than the lead that comes in from taking the pills in some people. And if that’s the case, then the paradox is resolved. Is it a perfect answer? No, but it’s definitely better than the rest, since that would explain it.

(D), on the other hand, tells us that a high-calcium diet decreases the amount of lead that the body is able to tolerate safely. This definitely doesn’t resolve the paradox, unless you think your doctor’s out to get you. Because if more calcium means lead is more dangerous for you, and doctors are having you take pills that give you both more calcium and more lead, then that’s definitely worse for the people taking them. So that’s definitely not the right answer.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.