Do Vitamins REALLY Kill? 5 Reasons Why Experts Refute The New Study
The results of a 22 year study shook up the health community this week as it asserted – contrary to many prior studies - not only are vitamins NOT good for you, they may actually SHORTEN your life! Did you miss that one? Here's a short synopsis:
The supplement intake and overall health of 40,000 women were followed for a span of 22 years and in the end, they looked at health and death records. According to the results, women who took one or a combination of the following had increased mortality rates:
- Vitamin B6
The increase in rates ranged from 2.2 % increased mortality for multivitamin users to a 18% increased mortality for copper users. Though the study included only women, researchers say these statistics apply to men as well.
What Do Experts Say?
“So what now?” people ask. "Do I throw out my supplements?" "Should I stop giving my children their chewable?"
Since the release of this study, health experts from all over the world have been weighing in on the subject.
Most agree that there are legitimate risks when taking supplements that many people are not, but should be, aware of. It is also generally accepted that ideally, we should be getting all our nutrients from the food we eat, not from pills.
However, what this study actually MEANS is a trickier subject.
Reading Between the Lines
Some have taken the strong stance that NO supplements should be taken unless a true deficiency is diagnosed and supplements are recommended by your doctor. However, others take a more skeptical look at this study. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. Participants were Not Representative of Population. This study looked only at older (average age, 62) white women - hardly representative of the population. It is well known that different genders, age groups and ethnicities have different chances of developing health problems or dying. However, this was not considered.
2. Hormone Replacement Was Ignored. Back in the 1990’s when this study began, hormone replacement was widely recommended for older women, but since that time, randomized controlled studies have revealed hormone therapy increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and death – by dramatic amounts. In this study, 13.5% of the women taking vitamins were also taking hormone replacing medications while about half that number, 7.2%, of women not taking any vitamins were. This was not accounted for.
3. Iron Use Is Not Recommended for Older Women. While iron was one of the supplements put on the "danger list" by this study, the fact that iron is particularly dangerous for older women was ignored. Doctors say that unless they are anemic, they should never take an iron supplement -and that’s the reason why most multivitamins designed for older women do not include it. Iron is a well known oxidative (the exact opposite of an antioxidant) and can contribute to oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease and more. Yet, many of the women in this study took it.
4. Health Background Was Ignored. Why did these women start taking supplements or take the supplements they did? Was it at the recommendation of a friend or family member? Was it something they had read about? Did take it hoping to improve an ailment? Were they trying to extend their life after a cancer diagnosis? That information was not accounted for in this study. Maybe, skeptics suggest, they took a supplement or supplements because they were already sick. If they’ve already had a heart attack or been diagnosed with cancer, of course their odds of dying are going to increase!
5. Quality and Dosage Were Not Accounted For.The quality, form and dosages used by the women in this study were not recorded, meaning that rather than protective natural folate, they could have been taking synthetic folic acid which has been linked to cancer. This information was not reported.
Use Supplements - Just Do it The Smart Way
All in all, there are many more positive (and more controlled!) studies, reinforcing the benefits of nutrients than there are negative studies showing ill effects. While most experts can agree that the best source of nutrition is our own diet, the fact of the matter is, modern diets, the diets that most of us are eating, do not supply us with quantity of nutrients many studies show can prevent disease, promote overall health and lengthen our lives. This is where a supplement can be helpful.
To ensure your supplements are, indeed, doing you more good than harm, be sure to check with your doctor first. They can help you determine which you should be taking and at what dosage.
SOURCES: http://drhyman.com/why-you-should-not-stop-taking-your-vitamins-7781/, http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/should-you-quit-taking-vitamins, http://www.naturalnews.com/033908_vitamins_David_Brownstein.html, http://news.vemma.com/2011/10/12/do-vitamins-really-kill-you/,