Increased mortality seen in women who take certain dietary supplements

Dietary supplements may increase mortality risk among aging womenBaby boomers who are trying to look and feel their best while keeping up with an active lifestyle during their golden years may want to shy away from certain dietary supplements, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Finland and the University of Minnesota.

The researchers surveyed nearly 39,000 women around the age of 60 from 1986 until 2004 and found that those who increased their intake of certain dietary supplements and vitamins increased their risk of death. In 1986, 62.7 of the women in the study took dietary supplements and that increased to 85.1 percent in 2004. Some of the supplements included multivitamins, folic acids, iron, vitamin B6, copper and zinc. Iron showed the strongest association with mortality when older women increased their consumption of the mineral.

However, researchers also noted that taking a calcium supplement was associated with a decreased risk of death among women over the years.

"Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements," the authors conclude. "We recommend that they be used with strong medically based cause, such as symptomatic nutrient deficiency disease."