Here’s important information if you take vitamins. Two new studies add to the growing body of evidence that taking extra doses of vitamins can do more harm than good. A study that followed up on men who took high doses of the vitamin for about five years found they had a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer — even after they quit taking the pills. The results show that for every 1,000 men who took vitamin E, there were 11 additional cases of prostate cancer, compared with men taking dummy pills. It’s ironic because the study was actually launched to try to confirm research suggesting vitamin E might protect against prostate cancer.
A separate study of 38,000 women in The Archives of Internal Medicine found a higher risk of dying during a 19-year period among older women who used multivitamins and other supplements compared with women who did not.
Go back 15 or 20 years, and the thinking was that antioxidants of all sorts might be useful. But these findings are the latest in a series of disappointing research results showing high doses of vitamins are not helpful in warding off disease, and can in fact be harmful. Bottom line, the researchers say, there’s no justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements. Remember, we’re talking about large doses here. Experts generally agree that foods are the best sources for vitamins. And that people in our climate need to take extra Vitamin D. So the best advice is to talk to your doctor before you change your routine.