Thursday, November 20, 2008

More bad news about vitamins...

Tara Parker-Pope writes about all the recent bad news about vitamins in her NY Times Well blog. From her post:

Everyone needs vitamins, which are critical for the body. But for most people, the micronutrients we get from foods usually are adequate to prevent vitamin deficiency, which is rare in the United States. That said, some extra vitamins have proven benefits, such as vitamin B12 supplements for the elderly and folic acid for women of child-bearing age. And calcium and vitamin D in women over 65 appear to protect bone health.

A Johns Hopkins School of Medicine review of 19 vitamin E clinical trials of more than 135,000 people showed high doses of vitamin E (greater than 400 IUs) increased a person’s risk for dying during the study period by 4 percent. Taking vitamin E with other vitamins and minerals resulted in a 6 percent higher risk of dying. A later study of daily vitamin E showed vitamin E takers had a 13 percent higher risk for heart failure.

On the bright side, while Vitamin C has no overall benefit for cold prevention, it has been linked with a 50% reduction in colds among marathon runners, skiers, soldiers, and people who are exposed to significant physical stress and cold temperatures, according to the study Parker-Pope discusses. Be careful though - because Vitamin C may interfere with Cancer treatment.

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