The results of a recently released, severely flawed observational study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, (a well-known, pharmaceutical-backed publication that is equally well-known for its supplement bashing articles) titled “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women” uses both bad science and questionable methods to derive the ridiculous conclusion that dietary supplements, overall, are not helpful for increasing longevity in older women. Of course, this is contrary to a wide body of established, reputable science and research. Without getting too technical, the key thing to remember, when looking at observational studies, is that the results do not prove cause and effect, but only associations. For example, umbrellas are associated with rainy days, but umbrellas do not cause rain. This study tells us nothing about what effect dietary supplements have on longevity, which is contrary to what the media would have you believe. This study did not use original data and instead used decades old, self-reported data from questionnaires and, contrary to the sensationalized news reports, the study did not show that multivitamin supplementation causes an increase in mortality. Press releases and sensational news headlines that state otherwise are grossly misinterpreting the findings of this flawed study and are doing so only to stir up controversy and to increase viewers and readers. Unfortunately, sensational and misleading articles, whose sole purpose is to create controversy and confusion, often lead people away from safe and effective supplements of essential nutrients that have been shown to benefit overall health and improve quality of life. It is irrefutable that vitamins and minerals are an essential component of a healthy diet and lifestyle and that most of us simply do not get adequate levels of these required nutrients by diet alone, therefore making dietary supplementation really the only reliable way of ensuring adequate nutrition. Sadly, articles like this with no real science undermine all the wonderful and reliable research and science on nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin C, Calcium and all the other essential nutrients we require, but do not adequately consume from our diet. It is unfortunate that the providers of news do so little investigation of what they report beyond its being controversial and “newsy” and, therefore, effective at bringing an audience.
Best of Health.