Is Your Medicine Cabinet Killing You?
A new study from the University of Minnesota, headed up by Jaakko Mursu, has taken a look inside vitamin supplements and multivitamins. The result: Those vitamins may, in fact, end your life earlier.
The study looked at 38,000 older women from 1986 to 2004. At the start of the study, the women had an average age of 62. Over the course of the study, 40 percent of the women died. Over the course of this period, the women, on average began taking more vitamin supplements, which coincided with the general trend exhibited in the overall public. As the public began taking more vitamin supplements, the women showed the same increase in supplement use.
What the study uncovered, though, was a bit surprising. It found that the women who took multivitamins, folic acid, iron, magnesium, B6, zinc or copper died at a higher rate than those who took other or no supplements. It also found that those who took calcium supplements had a decreased risk of death.
Not all supplements were the same, though. General multivitamins showed and increased risk of death of 2.4 percent. But a common vitamin for women, folic acid, showed an increased risk of death at 5.9%. And copper proved to be the most deadly, which resulted in an increased risk of death of 18 percent. The report, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, made use of data from the Iowa’s Women Health Study, and it raises some serious concerns for women in their long term health.
Folic acid, for instance, has many uses in the body, but women often use it before and during pregnancy to prevent major birth defects, according to the National Institute of Health. Iron is often taken by women to counter an iron deficiency, and is used to help the body produce hemoglobin and myoglobin. And copper, the most dangerous supplement of those studied, is needed by the body to use iron and for normal growth and health, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This report does have a bright spot to it though. All of these necessary vitamins and minerals can be obtained through a healthy, well-balanced diet, which would make the use of supplements unnecessary.