Skip to comments.Vitamin Pills 'Increase Risk Of Early Death'
Posted on 04/15/2008 8:34:19 PM PDT by blam
Vitamin pills 'increase risk of early death'
By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 16/04/2008
Popular vitamin supplements taken by millions of people in the hope of improving their health may do no good and could increase the risk of a premature death, researchers report today.
They warn healthy people who take antioxidant supplements, including vitamins A and E, to try to keep diseases such as cancer at bay that they are interfering with their natural body defences and may be increasing their risk of an early death by up to 16 per cent.
Antioxidants, including vitamins A, E, and C are said to mop up free radicals, which cause disease
Researchers at Copenhagen University carried out a review of 67 studies on 230,000 healthy people and found "no convincing evidence" that any of the antioxidants helped to prolong life expectancy. But some "increased mortality".
About 12 million Britons supplement their diets with vitamins and the industry is worth £330 million. But little research has been done on the long-term health implications.
The Department of Health said yesterday that people should try to get the vitamins they need by eating a balanced diet and advised care in taking large doses of supplements.
A spokesman said: "There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals. Their impact on long-term health may not have been fully established and they cannot be assumed to be without risk.
"Anyone concerned about their diet should speak to their doctor or dietitian."
Antioxidants, including vitamins A, E, C and beta-carotene and selenium, are said to mop up compounds, called free radicals, which cause disease. It is this action that researchers believe may cause problems with the defence system.
The Danish research, released by the influential Cochrane Library, applied only to synthetic supplements and not to vitamins that occur naturally in vegetables and fruit.
It found that vitamin A supplements increased the risk of death in healthy people by 16 per cent. Taking beta-carotene was linked to a 7 per cent increased risk, while regular users of vitamin E supplements increased the risk of an early death by four per cent.
Although the review found no significant detrimental effect caused by vitamin C, it found no evidence that it helped ward off disease. Millions take it in the hope of avoiding a common cold.
Goran Bjelakovic, who led the review, said: "We could find no evidence to support taking antioxidant supplements to reduce the risk of dying earlier in healthy people or patients with various diseases.
"If anything, people in trial groups given the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E showed increased rates of mortality."
But Patrick Holford, a nutritionist who has formulated supplements for the company Biocare, said: "Antioxidants are not meant to be magic bullets and should not be expected to undo a lifetime of unhealthy habits.
"When used properly, in combination with a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking, antioxidant supplements can play an important role in maintaining and promoting overall health."
A spokesman for the Health Supplements Information Service said: "People should get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their diet, but for the millions who are not able to do that, vitamins can be a useful supplement and they should not stop taking them."
However, Catherine Collins, of the British Dietetic Association, said: "This study is deeply worrying and shows that there should be more regulation for vitamins and minerals.
"The public can buy vitamins as easily as sweets. They should be treated in the same way as paracetamol with maximum limits on the dosage."
There is no “early death”, there is only death. We all die when we are supposed to. Not a minute sooner.
Since everything is bad for us, can we have our cigarettes back?
Everytime I hear someone say something like that, I think of stories like this:
Did she die when she was supposed to?
How do you know?
There is no good thing a lib cannot degrade into a negative!
Geez... I guess nothing on earth is safe anymore. Time to move to another planet I guess.
There is no polite way to put it, but we will start with pure unadulterated BS as the most succinct analysis.
All the criticisms of meta-analysis apply to studies like these. They are so unbelievably imprecise. Also, There are not just 67 studies of vitamin usage, there are THOUSANDS, if not tens of thousands over the 50-60 years. 67 sounds pretty selective to me.
Moreover, there is no effort to identify those who are in poor health from those who are not.
Plus, next to nothing is known about what constitutes an effective dosage for a lot of vitamins and supplements.
So many negative studies are simply because they either gave too little or for too short a period of time.
Plus, the article leaves you with the impression that vitamins are unhealthy. Nothing could be further from the truth...read the GD literature for craps sake.
So should people stop taking vitamins?
And that is the purpose of this whole damn study, to regulate and control the supplement business.
You must be a Calvinist.
***Did she die when she was supposed to?***
My answer: Yes, because God is in charge of all things, even our death.
As tragic as this story is, there are thousands just like it every day. A man drowns while saving a cat in a river, a woman dies while driving her car, a man has a heart attack right next to the fire station and no one can help him, a baby is carried off by a lion in Africa, thousands die of cholera... I can pick any day and find stories just as tragic, but does that mean they didn’t die a minute earlier or later than they should have?
I believe the bottom line is that people should take the least pills as possible no matter what, even when you are sick.
If we needed pills or vitamins to live longer, we would have been born with them, or our body would somehow make an equivalent source of nourishment naturally...
You mean a twinkie and three pills isn’t the same as an orange, even if the calories, carbs, and vitamin numbers look the same?!! /s
Pills by their very nature are tough for the kidney & liver to deal with. Most of what they offer can be found in more easily digested foods.
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