Multivitamin and Iron Supplements Pose Health Risks in Older Women

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A long-term study has revealed the startling revelation that certain supplements taken by older women could pose a health risk. The nineteen-year study found that women who took supplements, particularly vitamin B-6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper— often found in combination in multivitamins—could increase risk of early death by 6 percent.

The study, out of Finland and published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, followed 38,000 women with an average age of 62, for almost two decades.  Of the group, 85 percent took at least one supplement a day.

At the start of the study, the women reporting use of vitamins and supplements were found to be healthier overall than those women who were not taking regular doses of multivitamins or supplements. In fact, they had healthier diets and were less likely to be overweight or have diabetes or hypertension.

But as time progresses, those supplements may do more harm than good, particularly if they are in a higher dosage than is recommended. High doses of certain supplements can be toxic to the body.

Of particular concern, according to the study, is copper, which poses a 45 percent risk of early death, folic acid (15 percent), Vitamin B and iron (10 percent), and magnesium and zinc (8 percent).

“Looking at our findings, and combined with previous studies, the overall main message is that there are no benefits to taking multivitamins or supplements, at least if the hope is to prolong life or prevent disease or cancer,” said coauthor Jaako Mursu, an epidemiologist with the University of Minnesota.

The best bet for a longer, healthier life is good diet and exercise, and eschewing habits such as tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use.

 

Source : Health News

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