New Study Says Taking Vitamins Bad for Your Health
You may have read about a “shocking” new vitamin study. It’s getting a lot of press coverage… because it trashes vitamin supplements. In fact, the study determined that taking many supplements may actually shorten your life.
I’m concerned, because some people may read the mainstream media coverage and stop taking their supplements. And that would be a shame, because I don’t think this study really proves anything at all.
Good, solid science shows the health benefits of taking supplements. And many people – especially mature adults – don’t get enough vitamins and minerals to begin with. So let’s take a quick look at this new study… and why I believe in the value of supplements.
A University of Minnesota group recently looked at data from the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The study included self-reported information on supplements, and the Finnish team compared this information to death rates.
The result? Based on their findings, taking a multivitamin “appears” (their word) to raise the risk of death in older women by 2.4%.1
But I have a few problems with this conclusion.
The original study was observational. That is, the women in the study simply answered some questions. And just three times over 20 years. So it’s impossible to say how accurate any of the data really is.
And people with health concerns are more likely to take supplements than healthy folks. So many of the women taking supplements may have only started taking them after they became sick.
The final number is pretty weak, too. Just a 2.4% change in overall risk.
On the other hand, many recent studies reveal that supplements can have a large positive impact on your health.
For example, Finnish doctors found that giving postmenopausal women calcium and vitamin D promoted stronger, healthier bones.2
U.K. researchers confirmed that vitamin B supplements support better memory in older adults. In the same study, they found that B vitamins also promote lower levels of homoscysteine – an important marker of heart health risk.3
And in a study published just this March, German researchers showed that magnesium supplements promote better blood sugar control.4
Recent studies also support the use of multivitamin supplements. The journal Psychopharmacology just published the work of an Australian team. They found that simply taking a multivitamin for 16 weeks supports improved memory function.5
Another hot-off-the-presses study from a California dental school found that taking a multivitamin can even help
improve oral health.6
And I’ve seen thousands of other studies showing the health benefits of nutritional supplements.
Ideally, the food we eat would provide all the nutrition we need. But we don’t always eat right. And as we get older, our bodies absorb less of the nutrients from our food. So taking a multivitamin-mineral supplement just makes sense.
The mainstream media may be making a lot of noise about this new study. But I believe a closer look shows there’s no
news here. One flawed study won’t make me stop taking my multivitamin. And it shouldn’t stop you, either.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Mursu, J., et al, “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study,” Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633.
2 Kärkkäinen, M., et al, “Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone mineral density in women aged 65-71 years: a 3-year randomized population-based trial (OSTPRE-FPS),” Osteoporos Int. Dec 2010;21(12):2047-55.
3 de Jager, C.A., et al, “Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial,” Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. Jul 21, 2011. doi: 10.1002/gps.2758.
4 Mooren, F.C., et al, “Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects – a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial,” Diabetes Obes Metab. Mar 2011;13(3):281-4.
5 Macpherson, H., et al, “Memory improvements in elderly women following 16 weeks treatment with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement : A randomized controlled trial,” Psychopharmacology (Berl). Oct 18, 2011. [Epub ahead of print]
6 Harpenau, L.A., et al, “Effects of nutritional supplementation on periodontal parameters, carotenoid antioxidant levels, and serum C-reactive protein,” J Calif Dent Assoc. May 2011;39(5):309-12, 314-8.