Don't Believe Everything You Hear: Nutritional Supplements Are Safe

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Filed Under: Nutritional Support, Supplement Safety
Last Reviewed 05/07/2014

Don't believe everything you hear--supplements are safe.Some of you may have seen on the news or read in the paper about a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on daily multivitamins and other nutritional supplements. One typical headline screamed, “Vitamins Tied to Higher Death Rates in Older Women…”

Folks, this stuff may increase nightly news ratings and sell newspapers, but in the end it’s doing more harm than good. Daily multivitamins and other nutritional supplements are key to your health.

In case you aren’t familiar with the study and its findings, researchers followed approximately 40,000 women whose ages were 55-69 at the start of the study for an average of 19 years. Based on questionnaires these women filled out in 1986, 1997, and 2004 and comparing them with death rates, they determined that the women who took certain nutritional supplements had a slightly increased risk of death.

Don’t Throw Out Your Daily Multivitamin or Other Nutritional Supplements

Let’s look at some other critical findings when it comes to both daily multivitamins and other nutritional supplements:

1. The most significant risk was with supplemental iron, which was associated with a 3.9 percent increased risk of death. This isn’t news. It is well known that excess iron in a daily multivitamin is linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions and should be taken only by individuals diagnosed with anemia.

2. The calculated overall risk of death was only slightly higher among the women who took daily multivitamins: 40.8% vs 39.8%.

3. The study design was observational, meaning it did not allow the researchers to determine any specific causes for the slightly increased mortality among those women reporting to take certain nutritional supplements.

Nothing in this study compels me to change my recommendations regarding daily multivitamins or other nutritional supplements, for women or men. An editorial piece published along with the study suggests we should be able to get adequate vitamins and minerals from diet alone—yet large government studies reveal tremendous gaps in the average American diet and widespread nutritional deficiencies.

Here’s the bottom line: Don’t stop taking your daily multivitamin or nutritional supplements. Other more credible research clearly demonstrates the value of both.

Now it’s your turn: Which nutritional supplements do you take?

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