A new study suggests certain older men who smoke may decrease their risk of death by taking nutritional supplements.
Dr. Harri Hemili and professor Jaakko Kaprio of the University of Helsinki found vitamin E decreased the mortality rate by 41 percent in older smokers with a high dietary vitamin C intake. Conversely, the researchers also found the vitamin increased the mortality rate in middle-aged smokers by 19 percent.
A total of 29,133 participants were involved in the six-year study conducted between 1985 and 1993.
Participants were male smokers between the ages of 50 and 69.
Researchers initially found no overall effect on mortality with vitamin E. However, when combined with a dietary intake of vitamin C, the combination of the supplements had a significant effect on the participants.
An increase in mortality was found in younger participants, 50 to 62 years old, but decreased the rate in older participants, 66 to 69 years.
"In people younger than 65 years, taking vitamin E supplements should be strongly discouraged, until clear evidence emerges that some population groups of younger or middle-aged people benefit," the researchers concluded.