Dietary supplements consumption risky for older women


Dietary supplement are commonly available sources of nutrients for many people, especially older people.  A recent study reported that vitamin E can enhance chances of prostate cancer in men. A new study reported that dietary supplement can increase mortality rate in older women.

What is dietary supplement?
Dietary supplement or nutritional supplement is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet. Some countries define dietary supplements as foods, while in others they are defined as drugs or natural health products.

Examples of Dietary Supplements
Hormones DHEA (a steroid), pregnenolone (also a steroid) and the pineal hormone melatonin are marketed as dietary supplements in the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements as a category of foods, and not as drugs.

Dietary supplements linked to a higher risk of mortality in older women
Jaakko  Mursu, Ph.D. of the University of Eastern Finland, and the University of Minnesota and teams conducted a study to examine the link between vitamin and mineral supplements and the mortality rate in older women. They found that consuming dietary supplements, such as iron and coppers, multivitamins and folic acids, except calcium supplements, seems to be linked to a higher risk of mortality in older women.

The study was based on...

data from the Iowa Women’s Health Study in which a total of 38,772 women with an average age of 61.6 years self-reported their supplement use during 1986, 1997 and 2004 in a questionnaire.

It is to be noted that the consumption of dietary supplements in the U.S. has substantially increased over the last 10 years. According to the study, the consumption of supplements increased significantly between 1986 and 2004. Figures rose from 62.7% of women using at least one daily supplement in 1986 to 75.1% in 1997 and 85.1% in 2004 respectively.

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

The study establishes an important link between dietary supplement and mortality rate of older women. It is worth noting that the increase in consumption of dietary supplement, whether women need it or not. Consult your physician regarding use of dietary supplements.

Healthy Eating!


12 Responses

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