My aunt and uncle were true believers. Every morning they would open a tackle box filled with rainbow colored pills and capsules. They took so many supplements that their holistic physician urged them to cut back. They ignored him and were healthy and active until their late 80’s. Even as she reached 90, my aunt looked lovely with a thick hair and bright blue eyes.
Watching them dip and swoop about their box of pills turned me off vitamin supplements, but I couldn’t argue with success– so I hedged my nutritional bet with a daily multi-vitamin. I was careful to choose supplements that stayed within recommended limits. Smugly I felt I had gamed the odds. I covered my basic nutritional needs, but I didn’t risk excessive levels. My little red multi-vitamin gave me a nice sense of security.
Now, not one but two new studies found that daily vitamin supplements were linked to an increase in cancer. Researchers at the University of Minnesota tracked 38,000 women over 18 years in still ongoing study called the Iowa Woman’s Health Study. The women were over 60 when they started to report on their daily vitamin supplement use. The results? Not only did the supplements fail to protect against disease, the real shocker was that they were linked to a 2.5% increased mortality. Not good news.
The second study by the National Cancer Institute looked at the impact of vitamin E on risks of prostate cancer. It had been assumed that vitamin E reduced the risk of prostate cancer, but things didn’t work out as planned. The ten year study found that men who took vitamin E had a 17% increase in prostate cancer. Now I don’t even have a prostate, but I’ve been taking it for supposed cardiac benefits. Should I be worried?
Do you take vitamin supplements? Do these studies worry you? And what about all the vitamins that are in anti-aging creams? I’d love to hear your thoughts.