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Medical Vitamin Supplements Associated With Increased Risk for Death

  1. Dec 17, 2011 #1
    October 10, 2011 — The current study sought to evaluate the link between supplement use and total mortality rate, using data from the Iowa Women's Health Study...Vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and zinc were associated with about a 3% to 6% increased risk for death, whereas copper was associated with an 18.0% increased risk for total mortality when compared with corresponding nonuse.

    "In contrast, we found that several commonly used dietary vitamin and mineral supplements, including multivitamins, vitamins B6, and folic acid, as well as minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper, were associated with a higher risk of total mortality."

    "Although we cannot rule out benefits of supplements, such as improved quality of life, our study raises a concern regarding their long-term safety," the authors add.

    "We cannot recommend the use of vitamin and mineral supplements as a preventive measure, at least not in a well-nourished population,"


    Full pdf:

    http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/aim-multivitamin-older-women-mortality.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2011 #2
    This part is confusing from the comments section::

    http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/aim-multivitamin-older-women-mortality.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Apr 26, 2012 #3
    Another review suggesting the same:

    Do Dietary Supplements Have Beneficial Health Effects in Industrialized Nations: What Is the Evidence?
  5. May 24, 2012 #4
    It seems that another study came out yesterday questioning the use of calcium supplements by many people:

    Calcium Supplements Linked to Significantly Increased Heart Attack Risk, Study Suggests

    Full study:
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  6. May 24, 2012 #5
    Gosh nutrition science makes my head spin! The only safe method is to eat a healthy balanced diet. End of story.
  7. May 24, 2012 #6


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    Do we even really know what that is anymore? What foods are good for you? They go back and forth, eat this, wait, don't eat that! And they have changed nutritional requirements before. :surprised
  8. May 24, 2012 #7
  9. May 24, 2012 #8
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  10. May 25, 2012 #9
    None of it is regulated by the FDA. It's a complete joke. The labs vitamin and supplement makers send their products to in order to be "verified" are a joke and often times are in cohoots with the supplement makers themselves. I would never take vitamins, supplements, protein shakes, yadda yadda yadda, who knows what you're really getting. Modern day snake oil sales.
  11. May 26, 2012 #10


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    Reminds me of a DVR my wife recorded of a Dateline.

    The conspiracy-theorist/"natural-crowd" love to rave about "big pharma", but not many people are talking about "big-supplement". The industry is huge and like you point out, largely unregulated. People don't realize that these companies aren't held to the same standards that drug companies are. Nor are their products studied closely for adverse effects on human health.

    Here is the Dateline, its a good watch for everyone;

    People need to educate themselves on this topic. And the special power the supplement/"natural-food" industry has really needs to be revoked. They really need regulated by the FDA.

    Edit for the following parts;

    part 2

    part 3
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  12. May 26, 2012 #11
    I can't find it at its initial source, but Michael Specter had a book mentioning a lot of these topics. I googled and found this copy-paste blog http://johnshaplin.blogspot.com/2010/01/era-of-echinacea-by-michael-spector.html

    which says

    " "Vitamins in food are essential. And that's the way to get them. In food." With a couple of exceptions like folic acid for pregnant women and in some cases vitamin D, for the vast majority of Americans dietary supplements are a complete waste of money. Often, in fact, they are worse. In May 2009, researchers from Germany and the United States reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that antioxidants like vitamin C and E actually reduce the benefits of exercise. "Antioxidants in general...inhibit otherwise positive effects of exercise, dieting and other interventions.""

    That said, the only vitamins/supplements I use are Vitamin D, B12 (vegan), and a protein powder. I can't say for certain that these work. I have noticed an increase in lean muscle mass since I've been using the protein powder, I just assume the majority of people are vitamin D deficient, and B12 is hard for vegans to attain*, and, while little is needed, the absence of it causes spinal chord degeneration.

    *B12 is water soluble and the pills literally contain 16,667% of the RDA, so I split them to the smallest size where I can noticeably consume them, which essentially means a costco bottle reaches the expiration date long before one person could run out of pills.

    Also, homeopathy, "alternative medicine", etc., is all a sack of ****, but everyone knows that.
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  13. May 26, 2012 #12
    Granted this individual writing this isn't the most couth individual in the world, but his findings just go to illustrate the pervasive nature of fraud when it comes to supplements and vitamins:


    Essentially this guy is a scientist, assays a protein supplement for protein content, and finds that it is almost undetectable. The company actually responds to his post and claims it can produce their certificate of authenticity that was produced by the lab that test their product. Leave it to the internet to find out that the company that made the product and the lab that tested it are actually on the same servers w/ the same IP address. I bet this is way more common with supplements and vitamins makers than just this one case.
  14. Jul 20, 2012 #13
    Vitamin E didn't do too well against prostate cancer either:
    http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/noteworthy-trials/select/Page1 [Broken]
    Vitamin E and the Risk of Prostate Cancer-The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  15. Jul 20, 2012 #14
    people who overdose themselves on vit C D E and even A are going to have symptoms, maybe thats whats going on
  16. Jan 31, 2013 #15
    This lack of benefit with omega-3 supplementation kind of surprised me:
    Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
  17. Jan 31, 2013 #16
    In some cases it can even be harmful. I know my father who is on some drugs after a heart attack was advised not to take fish oils.
  18. Jan 31, 2013 #17
    Yes, it appears to have anti-inflammatory effects so it may increase the risk of bleeding. So if someone is taking blood thinners (e.g. aspirin, warfarin) or had some hemorhagic disorder, they would be at a greater risk of bleeding. But, in general, from what I have read, typical western diets tend to have a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio and this may be an unhealthy state since pro-inflammatory effects dominate. So I'm kind of surprised that benefits were not seen. If there's 1 supplement I would have expected to show benefits, it would have been omega-3.
  19. Jan 31, 2013 #18


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    Keep in mind that it's a meta-analysis, there could be heterogeneity that dilutes out the effect. You could check what publications they used and what the criteria for inclusion were. I would be more impressed if they showed the contribution of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements to health in animals where environmental and genetic factors are strictly controlled. In this case I think that lack of proof of an effect is not proof that there is no effect.
  20. Jan 31, 2013 #19


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    I found a few recent large studies that confirmed that the supplements alone did nothing. One was a large study on cardiac patients that had no benefit from use of Omega 3 supplements prior to cardiac surgery, so I think that's a bit too specific. The other I haven't read yet. So here is this one.

  21. Feb 1, 2013 #20


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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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