Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Certain dietary supplements associated with increased risk of death in older women, study suggests

Date:
October 11, 2011
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Consuming dietary supplements, including multivitamins, folic acid, iron and copper, among others, appears to be associated with an increased risk of death in older women, according to a new report.

Consuming dietary supplements, including multivitamins, folic acid, iron and copper, among others, appears to be associated with an increased risk of death in older women, according to a report in the October 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The article is part of the journal's Less Is More series.

The use of dietary supplements in the United States has increased considerably over the last decade, according to background information in the article. "At the population level, dietary supplements contributed substantially to the total intake of several nutrients, particularly in elderly individuals," the authors write.

Jaakko Mursu, Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland, and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues used data collected during the Iowa Women's Health Study to examine the association between vitamin and mineral supplements and mortality (death) rate among 38,772 older women (average age 61.6 years). Supplement use was self-reported in 1986, 1997 and 2004 via questionnaires.

Among the 38,772 women who started follow-up with the first survey in 1986, 15,594 deaths (40.2 percent) occurred over an average follow-up time of 19 years. Self-reported supplement use increased substantially between 1986 and 2004, with 62.7 percent of women reporting use of at least one supplement daily in 1986, 75.1 percent in 1997 and 85.1 percent in 2004.

The authors found that use of most supplements was not associated with reduced total mortality in older women, and many supplements appeared associated with increased mortality risk. After adjustment, use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper, were all associated with increased risk of death in the study population. Conversely, calcium supplements appear to reduce risk of mortality. The association between supplement intake and mortality risk was strongest with iron, and the authors found a dose-response relationship as increased risk of mortality was seen at progressively lower doses as women aged throughout the study.

Findings for both iron and calcium supplements were replicated in separate, short-term analyses with follow-up occurring at four years, six years and 10 years.

"Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements," the authors conclude. "We recommend that they be used with strong medically based cause, such as symptomatic nutrient deficiency disease."

Commentary: The Importance of Food

In an invited commentary, Goran Bjelakovic, M.D., D.M.Sc., of the University of Nis, Nis, Serbia, and Christian Gluud, M.D., D.M.Sc., of Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, discuss the findings of Mursu and colleagues saying they "add to the growing evidence demonstrating that certain antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin E, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, can be harmful."

"Dietary supplementation has shifted from preventing deficiency to trying to promote wellness and prevent disease," the authors write. "Until recently, the available data regarding the adverse effects of dietary supplements has been limited and grossly underreported. We think the paradigm 'the more the better' is wrong. One should consider the likely U-shaped relationship between micronutrient status and health."

"We cannot recommend the use of vitamin and mineral supplements as a preventive measure, at least not in a well-nourished population," the authors conclude. "Older women (and perhaps men) may benefit from intake of vitamin D3 supplements, especially if they have insufficient vitamin D supply from the sun and from their diet. The issue of whether to use calcium supplements may require further study."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. J. Mursu, K. Robien, L. J. Harnack, K. Park, D. R. Jacobs. Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women: The Iowa Women's Health Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011; 171 (18): 1625 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.445
  2. G. Bjelakovic, C. Gluud. Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Use in Relation to All-Cause Mortality in the Iowa Women's Health Study: Comment on 'Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women'. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011; 171 (18): 1633 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.459

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Certain dietary supplements associated with increased risk of death in older women, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111010173019.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2011, October 11). Certain dietary supplements associated with increased risk of death in older women, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111010173019.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Certain dietary supplements associated with increased risk of death in older women, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111010173019.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins