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Arch Intern Med. 2011 Oct 10;171(18):1625-33. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.445.

Dietary supplements and mortality rate in older women: the Iowa Women's Health Study.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus, Kuopio, Finland. jaakko.mursu@uef.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although dietary supplements are commonly taken to prevent chronic disease, the long-term health consequences of many compounds are unknown.

METHODS:

We assessed the use of vitamin and mineral supplements in relation to total mortality in 38,772 older women in the Iowa Women's Health Study; mean age was 61.6 years at baseline in 1986. Supplement use was self-reported in 1986, 1997, and 2004. Through December 31, 2008, a total of 15,594 deaths (40.2%) were identified through the State Health Registry of Iowa and the National Death Index.

RESULTS:

In multivariable adjusted proportional hazards regression models, the use of multivitamins (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02-1.10; absolute risk increase, 2.4%), vitamin B(6) (1.10; 1.01-1.21; 4.1%), folic acid (1.15; 1.00-1.32; 5.9%), iron (1.10; 1.03-1.17; 3.9%), magnesium (1.08; 1.01-1.15; 3.6%), zinc (1.08; 1.01-1.15; 3.0%), and copper (1.45; 1.20-1.75; 18.0%) were associated with increased risk of total mortality when compared with corresponding nonuse. Use of calcium was inversely related (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.88-0.94; absolute risk reduction, 3.8%). Findings for iron and calcium were replicated in separate, shorter-term analyses (10-year, 6-year, and 4-year follow-up), each with approximately 15% of the original participants having died, starting in 1986, 1997, and 2004.

CONCLUSIONS:

In older women, several commonly used dietary vitamin and mineral supplements may be associated with increased total mortality risk; this association is strongest with supplemental iron. In contrast to the findings of many studies, calcium is associated with decreased risk.

Comment in

PMID:
21987192
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4114071
Free PMC Article
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