Studies Find that Vitamins Can Do More Harm Than Good

Evidence against vitamin use is mounting.

Especially with vitamin E and Selenium therapies which are targeted to specific conditions such as prostate cancer.

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, known as the Select trial, was studying whether selenium and vitamin E, either alone or in combination, could lower a man’s risk for prostate cancer. It was stopped early in 2008 after a review of the data showed no benefit, although there was a suggestion of increased risk of prostate cancer and diabetes that wasn’t statistically significant. The latest data, based on longer-term follow-up of the men in the trial, found that users of vitamin E had a 17 percent higher risk of prostate cancer compared with men who didn’t take the vitamin, a level that was statistically significant. There was no increased risk of diabetes.

In regard to women’s health not only were vitamins not successful in preventing disease but were found to be harmful, in some cases.

Among the women in the Iowa study, about 63 percent used supplements at the start of the study, but that number had grown to 85 percent by 2004. Use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper were all associated with increased risk of death. The findings translate to a 2.4 percent increase in absolute risk for multivitamin users, a 4 percent increase associated with vitamin B6, a 5.9 percent increase for folic acid, and increases of 3 to 4 percent in risk for those taking supplements of iron, folic acid, magnesium and zinc.

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