In recent health news, a medical journals report claims that overuse of dietary supplements and multivitamins can cause premature death in women. PubMed and the Archives of Internal Medicine have published the women’s health study, which critics argue is seriously flawed.
Multivitamins that kill?
Last year, newsrooms were abuzz about the increasing usage of vitamin supplements among Americans. Now, apparently, an Iowa Women’s Health Study claims that in some incidences, overusing vitamins and dietary supplements- multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper- can actually kill you, especially if you happen to be an elderly female.
Health experts are up in arm over this latest study, and for good reason- on closer inspection, the scientific study, published by PubMed and the Archives of Internal Medicine, has some disturbing holes…
Bad science just doesn’t add up
One of the first things that you learn in science lab is, “Correlation doesn’t prove causation.” Put simply, just because two things happen at the same time, doesn’t mean that one causes the other. For example, there’s a high correlation between B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia, but that doesn’t mean that vitamin B12 deficiency causes fibromyalgia, just that the two share a statistical relationship. (In fact, it’s more likely that fibromyalgia causes vitamin B12 deficiency, but for scientific purposes, we cannot assume a causal relationship.)
The fact that a high correlation of vitamin-taking test participants had a high mortality rate does not prove that the vitamins killed them. Many of the women studies took toxic amounts of iron supplements- a known cause of cardiovascular disease. In addition, no care was taken to insure randomness, so it is quite possible that there was underlying chronic illness that the Iowa scientists failed to uncover.
Are researchers actually suggesting that women stop taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid, which countless studies prove greatly reduces the risk of birth defects?
Vitamin deficiency is for real
Vitamin B12 deficiency:
- chronic fatigue,
- increased risk for heart attack,
- pernicious anemia,
- neurological damage and
- early-onset dementia?
- muscular aches,
- irregular heartbeat,
- hypocalcemia (diminished calcium),
- hypokalemia (low potassium), and
Zinc deficiency (severe):
- mental retardation,
- growth retardation,
- chronic fatigue,
- iron deficiency anemia,
- muscular degeneration