Vitamins: Too much of a not-so-good thing?
The Bioglan and Bimuno products made unsubstantiated claims that they help maintain digestive health, while the Seven Seas product was wrong to suggest it was necessary for a healthy heart. It has been illegal since December for manufacturers to include health claims on packaging that are not approved by the EU. There is an exception for certain probiotic strains and glucosamine, which must be removed by January 2014. A panel of Which?
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Paul Offit says everyone should be more skeptical about taking large doses of vitamins. As Offit wrote in an op-ed the New York Times , a 1994 New England Journal of Medicine study on 29,000 Finnish smokers found beta carotene was associated with lung and heart disease death. Beta carotene and vitamin A in combination were shown in another New England Journal of Medicine study to be linked to a 46% greater risk of death from lung cancer than placebo. A 2012 Cochrane review of multiple randomized clinical trials showed an increase in risk of death may be linked to beta carotene and vitamin E, as well as higher doses of vitamin A.
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Do Older Adults Need Vitamins, Supplements?
“We know too little to suggest there is a greater need in the elderly for most of these vitamins and minerals.” “A supplement does not cure the aging process,” he says. And in some cases, supplements may do harm, he says. Expense is another factor. His report, which reviews numerous studies of vitamins and mineral supplements, is published in Advances in Nutrition. Duffy MacKay, ND, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, an industry group representing dietary supplement makers, agrees that starting with a good diet is the best way to get needed nutrients.
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