Vitamins may not help you live longer, study saysScientists warning following Danish research

28 February 2007

Common vitamin pills may not help you live a longer life, a new study has found.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark say they found Vitamin A, vitamin E and beta carotene taken singly or with other supplements 'significantly increase mortality'.

The researchers found no evidence that vitamin C could increase longevity, while selenium did tend to reduce the risk of death.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved analysis of 68 previous trials of the five antioxidant supplements, involving 232,606 participants.

Antioxidant supplements

The Copenhagen team singled out 47 'low-bias risk' trials, with 180,938 participants, as being the best quality.

Based on these low-bias studies, the supplements were found to be associated with a 5 per cent increased risk of mortality.

Taking beta carotene was associated with a 7 per cent risk, vitamin A with a 16 per cent risk and vitamin E with a 4 per cent risk, while there was no increased mortality risk with vitamin C or selenium.

The authors wrote: 'Our findings contradict the findings of observational studies, claiming that antioxidants improve health.

'Considering that 10-20 per cent of the adult population (80-160 million people) in North America and Europe may consume the assessed supplements, the public health consequences may be substantial.'

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