Thursday, March 01, 2007

Docs warn on vitamins A and E

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association says some popular anti-oxidant supplements may increase the risk of death.

A detailed analysis of human studies shows people who take beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E supplements don't live any longer than those who don't take them, WebMD reported.

There appeared to be no increased risk of death from taking vitamin C, and a very slight benefit from taking selenium, the report said.

The study -- led by Christian Gluud of Copenhagen University Hospital and Goran Bjelakovic of the University of Nis in Serbia -- looked at data from 68 randomized clinical trials conducted since 1990.

The researchers found that taking vitamin A supplements increased the risk of death by 16 percent; beta-carotene supplements increased the risk of death by 7 percent; and vitamin E supplements increased the risk of death by 4 percent.

"There is no reason to take anything that hasn't been proven beneficial.

And these anti-oxidant supplements do not seem beneficial at all," Gluud told WebMD.

The researchers said some nutrients "may be harmful at high doses or could interfere with the body's natural defenses," the Washington Post said.

  • Science Daily

  • Original Article I Found Link In this article (from a religious site):

    3 Out of 5 Doctors – Leaves 2 02/28/2007

    Every once in awhile it’s good to be reminded that yesterday’s nutritional advice can be wrong. We need to beware of simplistic approaches to health. For instance, the cliches “If a little is good, more is better” or “it worked for me” can be deadly. TV commercials are filled with glowing promises for this or that pill, followed by rapid-talking disclaimers. Live Science warned of two principles that contradict conventional wisdom: (1) Some antioxidant supplements may increase the risk of death (see also Science Daily about overdosing on vitamins A and E). (2) Iron can make you strong or kill you (ironic, isn’t it?). But then there is a third announcement from Nottingham University that most people will be glad to learn: chocolate is healthy. We hope the bad news is not another cliche: “less is more.”

    Incidentally, speaking of health and human physiology, PNAS reported earlier in the month that your forearm skin is literally a zoo crawling with bacteria, many kinds unknown to science (see also Science Daily). If you’re feeling OK, though, just don’t think about it and everything will be fine.

    Human physiology is so very complex, we cannot know for sure the truisms in which we trust will not be overturned by tomorrow’s findings. Complicating the picture are the influences of genetics, age, sex, geography, weather, time of day, time of year, ecology and psychosomatic effects. Even prayer can render all the above irrelevant. If medical science struggles with understanding these things, don’t expect the salesperson with supplements at your door to have the pill to cure all ills. Moderation is usually good advice (except when it comes to wisdom).

    Next headline on: HealthHuman Body