Tuesday, October 18, 2011

News Brief: More Evidence Against Vitamin Use

Bassel Ghaddar

Recently two new studies confirmed that taking supplemental vitamins at an amount over the normal dietary intake can be harmful. A study of 35, 000 men found that users of vitamin E and selenium had a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer, as The Journal of the American Medical Association reported. Another study of 38,000 women in Iowa found a higher risk of death for women who take multivitamins over those who do not.

In the two most recent studies, men were given doses of 200 micrograms of selenium and 400 international units of vitamin E (most multivitamins contain 50 micrograms of selenium and 30 to 200 international units of vitamin E), and were found to have a 17% higher risk of prostate cancer. As for the Iowa study, women taking multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper all displayed an increased risk of death of up to 5.9%.

These studies as well as other similar past studies are undermining the justification for the extensive use of supplements. Although vitamins are essential nutrients that the body cannot manufacture, a growing body of research is showing that high levels of vitamins can be more destructive than beneficial.

References: Parker-Pope, Tara. "More Evidence Against Vitamin Use". The New York Times. Web. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/more-evidence-against-vitamin-use/?ref=health Oct. 11 2011
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