Taking Multivitamins: Increased Duration And Premature Mortality?

Epidemiological studies have shown that eating foods rich in antioxidants results in a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress damage caused by free radicals are very active in the blood. These adverse effects have been implicated as a pathogenic factor in most diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Foods rich in antioxidant fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Phytochemicals are powerful antioxidants and are naturally present in food. For example, soy contains broom, tomatoes and cabbage, grapefruit contain lycopene, indoles Brussels sprouts and Cotaina, garlic and onions contain allyl sulfides, tea contains tannins and most fruits and vegetables are rich in flavonoids. A diet rich in these foods is very protective. This observation led to widespread use of synthetic antioxidants and multivitamins to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, and increased lifetime.

But taking these supplements showed no benefits of protection, and was actually harmful in most people.

Dr. Jaakko Mursu and colleagues recently presented data on life expectancy concern with the use of multivitamins and mineral supplements in healthy adults. They found that most of the supplements on older women was associated with an increased risk of total mortality. These supplements include multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid and minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and copper. There was a 3% to 6% increased risk of death by taking vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium and zinc supplements and an increased risk of 18.0% for total mortality with copper supplements. Increased rates are compared with people who do not take these supplements. This large study included a total of 38 772 women aged between the ages of 55 to 69. Their results were published in the October 10, 2011 The issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

In a review of 47 previous studies with nearly 181,000 participants reported Bjelakovic and his colleagues to take vitamin A supplements increase the risk of death by 16%, beta-carotene by 7%, and vitamin E by 4%. These findings were published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 2007.

Meta-analysis of several studies have also shown that antioxidants do not prevent cancer. By contrast, studies have implicated consumption with an increased incidence of certain cancers. In a study by Lawson and Associates and published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute in 2007, the risk of fatal prostate cancer doubled among men who take multivitamins seven days a week, compared with men who do not take multivitamin supplements. Their study INVOL 295 344 men enrolled in the National Institutes of Health Diet and Health Study. Other studies have shown that mortality also appears to be greater in people with gastrointestinal cancers and lung diseases by ingestion of antioxidant supplements.

The exact mechanism behind the harmful effect of a multivitamin / antioxidant supplementation is unclear. It has been suggested that the addition of antioxidants can reduce free radicals and shock protection mechanisms needed to kill cancer cells and cancer. Synthetic antioxidants can also be a pro-oxidant.

The American diet contains almost 120% of the recommended daily dose of β-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C, calcium and prescribed except for the lack of documented completion (eg vitamin D), scientific knowledge, most of multivitamins and minerals may be used in an otherwise well-nourished individuals.

Dr. Shashi K. Agarwal is a certified internist and cardiologist in private practice in New York and New Jersey. It is also a diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.