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Taking Vitamins May Shorten Your Life?

It seems that doctors, chiropractor and other health professionals are always encouraging folks to take a daily vitamin. If you're a person who downs a bunch of pills with her morning cup of coffee or OJ every morning, then you may be surprised to hear this horrible news — research shows that people who take antioxidant supplements, including vitamins A and E, may be unknowingly shortening their lives. Ironically quite the opposite of what they are hoping to do. In this Danish review of 67 studies done on 230,000 healthy men and women, the team of scientists found no evidence that taking antioxidant supplements had any positive effect on preventing diseases such as cancer. Actually, some supplements may even increase susceptibility of getting sick and dying sooner.

Wait, I thought antioxidants were good for you. If you're confused too, then


Yes, it's true. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, beta carotene and selenium, are considered essential for our health, because they support the immune system and help rid the body of free radicals that can possibly lead to disease. Many of us already get the recommended amount or these vitamins and minerals each day in the food they eat, and there's no scientific data that says that more is better. Plus, people aren't exactly sure about dosage amounts when it comes to vitamins. The RDI of vitamin C is about 75mg, but you can buy tablets of 1,000 mg. Taking a huge amount of any vitamin all at once could throw your system off balance.

Of course there are scientists who don't agree with these studies, and feel that there is some merit to taking a daily vitamin. For those not getting enough from their diets, vitamins could help to promote overall health.

So what's your opinion on taking supplements? Do you take vitamins everyday, or do you feel it's not necessary?


Join The Conversation
JamieRunning JamieRunning 8 years
I take a lot of vitamins and naturopathic remedies (Cod Liver Oil) etc - and I make sure that everything I eat is a whole food. I feel great so I am going to keep doing what works for me.
kraken kraken 9 years
Couldn't the higher mortality rate just be explained by the fact that older people with health issues generally take more multivitamins and supplements than younger people with no health issues; therefore, more of them die earlier? I mean, on one hand you've got a bunch of college students who don't take vitamins; on the other hand you've got a bunch of 50- or 60-year olds who may or may not have other medical issues due to smoking, age, whatever. Those people could take all the vitamins in the world and they would still die sooner than the twenty-somethings would.
gooselicious gooselicious 9 years
I am so confused!
megania megania 9 years
I take a multi-vitamin every morning and I'm not planning to stop based on one medical report...not when there are so many other reports that say it helps.
NatureMadeLisa NatureMadeLisa 9 years
I think it's necessary for me, only because I'm not perfect with what I eat during the week. I wish I could eat enough fruits and veggies, but I know that I'm human and I tend to lead an unbalanced life :-)
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I take a multi, but I would avoid taking any pill that's a mega dose of any one vitamin because of the danger of overdose. I always take a calcium/vitamin D supplement because A)I'm an active female and B)I live in Wisconsin and don't get outside in the winter as often as I should.
julibul julibul 9 years
I don't think the vitamins themselves are shortening lives. It's probably that people who take vitamins generally do not get enough nutrition from their meals. Usually, supplemental vitamins aren't as well-absorbed by the body as those eaten with foods. So these "malnourished" people may die earlier. I don't think it's the research that's at fault. The media distorts research findings in any way they want. There are so many variables involved!!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I plan on continuing to take them. There is studies for everything and refuse to base my life around every single one that comes out.
BeautyXRush BeautyXRush 9 years
Oh well, I could care less if it shortens my life. I don't believe it does. I think more people should take daily vitamins, it helps you age better also. I have to take vitamin d supplements every day now because I have a deficiency.
mem952 mem952 9 years
today my boyfriend told me he has decided that vitamins are a waste of money. he used to always take a couple of different vitamin pills (multi, fish oil, vit c, etc) but now he doesn't take them BUT he does have a really great regular exercise regime (which he didn't before). i think that shows that a lot of people are using vitamins as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle! best nutrients are in food not a pill!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I probably don't get the vitamins from the food I eat so I try and take a vitamin daily.
AMP AMP 9 years
I probably don't need to take any supplements (besides calcium) but I do anyway. I eat enough fruit, veggies, etc. that I can probably fulfill that way, but I don't want to fall short, so I take them anyway. Plus your body doesn't absorb all that is contained in food/vitamins, so I guess having both is a good precaution that I am actually getting the recommended amount.
pugglelover pugglelover 9 years
Even though i get my recommended 6-9 servings of fruit and veggies a day I still take a multi-vitamin and fish oil (twice a day for fish oil)
citygirl2 citygirl2 9 years
i go to a natural path doctor and i take supplements but i am beginning to question them. i know i need to take a b12 supplement because i am a vegetarian, and i also take a EPA/DHA fish oil supplement. beta carotene has done wonders for my skin. all b and c vitamins are water soluble, meaning the body excretes what it doesn't need. i eat a very healthy diet so i am beginning to wonder if my vitamins are superfluous..
CoMMember13627174328105 CoMMember13627174328105 9 years
you can design a study to conclude whatever you want. I'm not going to throw out my multi unless you can link me to the study so I can read it for myself.
Ikandy Ikandy 9 years
i take fish oil religiously...and calcium every two weeks for pms issues... i hope there isnt going to b a new study showing that fish oil is now bad...oy...
SanDiegoLove SanDiegoLove 9 years
I take a One-A-Day All Day Energy vitamin (a multi with caffeine and guarana blend) with my lunch on weekdays. The extra kick really helps block the 3 o'clock wall I usually hit. If I remember I also take two fish oil capsules before bed.
Leony Leony 9 years
Well, I think anything that is too much is not really a good thing. I rarely take vitamin unless I really need it as I can't take bunch of vitamin because every time I do that, the next day I always get shore/ulcer on my throat or whatever that'll make me feel sick.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
This study doesn't even mention how much these people were taking. For all we know, it was an excessive amount. Too much of anything is bad for a person. That's just common sense.
bibiruby82 bibiruby82 9 years
Well at least I have a good reason why I don't take my vitamins consistently.
sarasonne sarasonne 9 years
So did this study use the regular daily-sized doses or the large 1000% doses?
jamiedynamite jamiedynamite 9 years
My med school friend told me that taking a multi everyday is dangerous because your body can stop absorbing/ producing natural vitamins? I usually take a multi every few days. I don't eat meat but I still only take a b12 a few days a week because the body stores b12 for long periods of time& doesn't need THAT much of the vitamin.
yamagrl yamagrl 9 years
Whenever I've tried to take a multi-vitamin, I wind up feeling like I have a rock in my stomach or I feel sick to my stomach. Not sure what that's all about but I don't like it. So, I just try and get the vitamins and nutrients I need in my food.
bigsee bigsee 9 years
i take prenatal nails aren't so brittle and my skin looks nicer...that's all i really take, and only when i remember. they don't bother me at all, and the % isn't overkill. sometimes i take fish oil too, but lately have been just eating fish and other healthy fats instead.
ChicaCity ChicaCity 9 years
I take multi-vitamin + iron + beta carotene. I think the beta carotene has really helped my skin..
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