Vitamin pills can reduce life expectancy

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Study: Vitamin supplements left the life expectancy of older women

The pharmaceutical industry advertises artificial vitamin supplements and mineral pills to allegedly increase the health and performance of the consumer. According to a US study, regular intake appears to do the opposite. During a long-term study, it was found that continuous intake of vitamin-rich food supplements reduces the life expectancy of older women.

Vitamin pills are available commercially in all variations. The manufacturers advertise positive health effects. Instead of the hoped-for life extension, the artificial pills have a negative impact on relative life expectancy, according to a research team in the Iowa Women's Health Study. Only the calcium tablets were able to achieve positive effects, as the study authors write.

Vitamin pills shortened lifespan
A total of 38,000 women took part in a long-term study. At the beginning of the research work 22 years ago, all study participants were on average 62 years old. During the term, the subjects were asked three times at the same time intervals about their consumption of vitamin-rich food supplements. The women were asked to provide answers to the individual product types and duration of intake by means of a questionnaire. After the observation period, about 40 percent of the subjects had died. The researchers then compared the mortality rate with the intake of vitamin supplements and recognized a direct connection to lethality.

In the evaluation, the scientists differentiated vitamin pills and mineral supplements with the ingestion intensity. The result: Almost all vitamin and mineral supplements led to a higher risk of death for women. The death rate for multivitamin agents was 2.4 percent higher than for those who did not consume these pills. It was around 4 percent higher for vitamin B6 and iron, and the death rate for folic acid was almost 6.0 percent higher than in the comparison. The only exception was the calcium tablets. Here, the research team identified a 3.8 percent lower risk of death.

Results are a rough guide
However, the study results are only a rough indication that the consumption of artificially produced vitamins harm the human organism, as the researchers emphasized. Because the study did not include other risk factors such as health. However, previous research had shown that taking vitamins on an artificial basis is rather harmful to health.

Adequate vitamin intake guaranteed
In the western world, vitamins are added to almost every possible convenience food. In addition, the range of fruits and vegetables is plentiful, so that additional vitamin drugs are completely unnecessary in healthy people. Additional pills are unnecessary if people eat a balanced and wholesome diet. Only in certain life situations it may be necessary to take certain preparations on the advice of the doctor. These life situations include pregnancy, lactation or serious chronic illnesses. "This is definitely not necessary," says nutritionist Isabelle Keller from the German Nutrition Society (DGE). The range of healthy foods in Germany is varied all year round. Consumers have the opportunity to “get enough vitamins without any problems all year round.” An overdose of dietary supplements can have harmful consequences. Vitamins A, D, E and K as well as beta carotenes accumulate in the body due to their fat-soluble nature. There is no European guideline for legal requirements for maximum amounts in vitamin products. This is a “gray area” for the nutrition expert. If you want to keep yourself healthy, you can get enough vitamin suppliers in natural form. A plate of fruit brings more than 100 pills and also tastes much better. (sb)

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Image: Juliane Drechsel /

Author and source information

Video: John Stoddard Cancer Center - Trending Topics - High Dose Vitamin C Use in Cancer Treatment


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