Vitamins “Increase” the Risk of Death???

‘We cannot recommend the use of vitamin and mineral supplements as a preventive measure, at least not in a well-nourished population. Those supplements do not replace or add to the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and may cause unwanted health consequences’ (end of quote).

A few days after the current study was released new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported men who took vitamin E experienced a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Paradoxically, the working hypothesis at the start of the JAMA study of 35,000 men was vitamin E would reduce the risk to develop prostate cancer.

Amplify’d from www.nlm.nih.gov
‘We cannot recommend the use of vitamin and mineral supplements as a preventive measure, at least not in a well-nourished population. Those supplements do not replace or add to the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and may cause unwanted health consequences’ (end of quote).

NLM Director’s Comments Transcript

Efficacy of Dietary Supplements?: 11/07/2011

Share

Older women who took folic acid, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, and multivitamins for almost two decades had a higher risk of death compared to non-users of dietary supplements, finds an intriguing study recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The results suggest the absolute death risk increased 5.9 percent when study participants took folic acid. The absolute death risk increased about four percent when participants took vitamin B6. Increases of three to four percent occurred if participants took iron, magnesium, and zinc. A 2.4 percent increase in absolute risk of death occurred when participants took multivitamins. Absolute risk provides comparatively rigorous and conservative statistical estimates of health risks.

The study of about 39,000 women (starting at age 62 and followed for up to 19 years) found no significant differences in the death rates comparing those who did and did not take vitamin A. Among the participants, taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements were associated with a comparatively significant decline in the risk of death. All participants were enrolled in the Iowa Women’s Health Study, a comprehensive assessment of post-menopausal health that began in 1986.

About 85 percent of the participants in the Iowa Women’s Health Study reported taking one dietary supplement in 2004. All study participants self-reported dietary supplement use.

The study’s five authors explain the findings are not applicable to younger women, or men. The authors note the study was observational, or it compared groups of older women who did/did not take food supplements without exerting control about their use. As a result, the findings are not as clinically rigorous as a double blind, controlled clinical trial. The authors report the Iowa Women’s Health Study does not assess some health and lifestyle variables, which could confound the statistical associations between some dietary supplements and ensuing death risks.

The authors report that more research is needed among diverse populations as well as more rigorous controls in order to confirm the study’s suggested bidirectional associations for supplement use and the risk of death.

While a commentary accompanying the study notes (and we quote): ‘the study is large, well designed, and well conducted’ (end of quote), the study’s authors acknowledge the study’s conclusions are based on statistical associations rather than cause and effect.

Although the study’s authors suggest the study’s findings are not definitive, the authors of the accompanying commentary in the Archives of Internal Medicine counter there are parallels between the current study’s results and other recent, research findings. In summarizing the current study’s findings, the commentary’s authors conclude (and we quote): ‘We cannot recommend the use of vitamin and mineral supplements as a preventive measure, at least not in a well-nourished population. Those supplements do not replace or add to the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and may cause unwanted health consequences’ (end of quote).

A few days after the current study was released new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported men who took vitamin E experienced a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Paradoxically, the working hypothesis at the start of the JAMA study of 35,000 men was vitamin E would reduce the risk to develop prostate cancer.

The Archives of Internal Medicine estimates dietary supplements produce more than $20 billion in annual revenues.

Read more at www.nlm.nih.gov

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s