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Are vitamins harmful?

17th April 2008

Researchers in Copenhagen have conducted a review which suggests that vitamin pills do not lengthen lifespan and could in fact shorten it.

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The scientists, working at Copenhagen University, discovered "no convincing evidence" that vitamins lessened the danger of dying.

"Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality," concluded the Cochrane Collaboration.

The researchers looked at 67 studies on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. The studies involved 233,000 people - both ill and well - who took vitamins to prevent illness.

It has been opined that vitamin supplements might kill off "free radicals" which cause damage to the body and could lead to cancer and other diseases.

The research team found vitamin A pills were associated with a 16% elevated danger of death, beta-carotene had 7% and vitamin E had 4%. Vitamin C did not have either a positive or negative effect.

The Cochrane Collaboration said: "we found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention."

Vitamin supplements make up a market which generates more than £330m in the UK.

The Department of Health stated that the population should not take large amounts of vitamin pills and should eat a healthy diet.

"There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals," a spokesperson said.

 






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Article Information

Title: Are vitamins harmful?
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 6401
Date Added: 17th Apr 2008

Sources

BBC News

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