Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dietary Supplement Study Siting Increased Mortality in Older Women Was Flawed

The recent study "Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women," published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011, Volume 171(18):1625-1633, was fatally flawed and in my opinion can not be considered good research. They claim there is a slightly higher risk of all-cause mortality associated with the use of multivitamins, iron and copper in these women. I think it is interesting that this has been put fourth during a period of time that many countries (Phamaceutical companies are always behind this.) including ours is trying to make herbs and nutrients prescription only items.
The  study was data extracted from the on-going Iowas Women's Health Study. The information in this study is based on self administered questionnaires distributed in 1986, 1997 and 2004. The study asked about supplement intake but did not get specific and ask how much of any specific nutrients was consumed. They also did not ask about the chemical form of the supplement or quality. When the women were asked about taking a multivitamin, the study did not have them specify if it was a mineral multi-vitamin or had herbs in it. 
The study made no attempt to verify accuracy of the answers, or ask why the women were taking supplements or how those supplements might effect the health of that individual.
The most glaring error to me is that the health condition of the person was not taken into account. Many people with cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other health conditions will start taking supplements when they get the diagnosis. If that person subsequently dies of a serious ailment they began taking the supplements for, this study is blaming it on the supplements rather than on the disease. This glaring error should have been accounted for.
You can get a detailed analysis of this poorly executed study by clicking here:  

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