Too Much Of A Good Thing

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Monday, October 10, 2011 - 2:20pm

Certain daily supplements may increase health risks.

You really can have too much of a good thing according to a new study on dietary supplements.

Researchers followed a group of nearly 40,000 white women in their 60ss for about 20 years.

Taking multivitamins, folic acid and especially iron supplements were associated with a higher mortality risk.

This may be explained in part by ongoing health problems.

Some people take iron pills after major surgery.

"Or they may have iron deficiency anemia associated with chronic diseases," points out UH Case Medical Center's Lisa Cimperman.

Vitamins were once taken to prevent diseases marked by deficiencies, Vitamin C for scurvy for example.

As we've boosted the nutrient content in our food supply true vitamin deficiencies are pretty rare in the united states.

Dietitians say a supplemental pill should be viewed as a back-up.

"It takes a second place to the actual food and fruits and vegetables and whole grains that are natural sources of these vitamins and minerals," Cimperman says.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition oversees the dietary supplement industry.

The council maintains supplements can be part of a healthy lifestyle, and responded to the new research in a statement:

"The study may make for interesting scientific water cooler discussion, but certainly does not warrant sweeping, overstated concerns for elderly women."

The study also found calcium was associated with a decreased risk for early death.

This may be because they may help reduce the risk for broken bones.

More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements.
 

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