Dietary Supplement is bad for Older Women

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A new study reveals that a dietary supplement linked with increased death among women.

In an analysis of more than 39,000 women followed for over 19 years, researchers led by a team at the University of Minnesota discovered that those who adopt multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper and especially iron in their daily habit died at higher rates throughout the course of the study compare to those who did not take supplements.

The researchers found out that only calcium connected with lower risk out of the 15 supplements analyzed.

Jaakko Mursu, a postdoctoral researcher in nutrition at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and affiliated with the University of Eastern Finland says the research adds to the growing amount of studies that shows no advantage for supplement usage in anticipation of chronic diseases.

Mursu and his associates examined data coming from the Iowa Women’s Health Study.  In 1986 and the start of the study, the age of women who participated in the study were 62.   Participants completed health surveys, which includes information regarding their diet and supplement they are using, several times over a period of 19 years.

The team discovered that the supplement is widely use and has increased over the years.   In 1986, 65% of the women claimed that they are one supplement each day. By 1997, that number had increased to 75%; by 2004, to 85%.

As in the broader populace, women in the study who included in their diet tended to be healthier — with lower rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, and lower body mass index — compared to women who did not.  However, those women, who are taking in calcium had an increased rate of death.

The research did not seem to seek if the death was caused by the supplement that patients are taking.

In the case of iron, Mursu said the answer could be indicating that the women got intoxicated because of the high amount of iron.  There is a possibility that women who drink iron supplements died from other health causes.

Such drawbacks led some in questioning the importance of the findings.

Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition says he would not advise anyone to stop their supplement intake because of this study.  The study is not yet proven.

However, Bonnie Jortberg, a registered dietitian and senior instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, said the research reinforce arguments against the usage of supplements except if the patient is suffering from nutritional deficiency.