There is a warning on the MSN homepage that the use of vitamins and mineral supplements by older women may increase their risk of dying. “Far from being healthy, supplements such as multivitamins, minerals and folic acid may actually raise the odds for death in older women who take them, a new study suggests.” Well, I figure my odds of dying are pretty much 100%, so I’ll take my chances with my morning vitamin.
Seriously? Do people get paid to do this stuff? Study 39,000 older northern women for 19 years and determine they are going to die sooner if they take supplements? I’ll bet I could put together a study that shows that older southern men are going to die sooner if they drink bourbon. And does anyone give ANY thought to the little details of that statement…like the fact that the quality of the supplements, the condition of the women, and medicine itself might change a bit over a period of nineteen years? Was there a placebo group? And what group would you use to compare the women to? Healthy young women who don’t take vitamins at all? And why weren’t men included in the study? My science is a bit rusty, but the whole thing smacks of a plot against old women.
Could we at least have a little in-depth reporting about why the women were taking supplements, what they were taking, and in what quantities? What pre-existing conditions did they have? Were they supplementing their dietary deficits or seeking a magical cure for cancer? Were they taking three supplements a day or fifty-three? Were they also taking other medications? Drinking alcohol? Smoking? Eating red meat? Addicted to pain meds? Washing the supplements down with Dr. Pepper?
These studies always remind me of the cup of coffee sitting here next to me on the desk. Every other year there is a report that coffee is good, followed by a report that coffee is bad, followed by a report that too much coffee is bad but a little is good, or that coffee in the morning is good but at night it keeps you awake. I haven’t yet found coffee to be detrimental to me, so I continue to drink it, just as my grandmother did. If at some point in the future it seems harmful I’ll give it up, just as I have given up other things that I am convinced are not good for me.
So I’ll take my multi-vitamin and my flaxseed oil and my B-complex this morning and wash them down with non-fat milk and hope for the best. Besides, I figure it’s the fake eggs in my omelet that are really dangerous!
Have a good one….