News reports and articles on the Archives of Internal Medicine, The Iowa Women’s Health Study Vol. 171 No. 18, October 10, 2011
As a manufacturer of vitamins, mineral and supplements, Swiss NaturalTM wanted to send out a communication regarding the above study which has received quite a bit of media coverage over the past week.
Please be advised that Health Canada meticulously reviews all our vitamin, mineral and supplement products for safety and efficacy. Once a product is deemed safe and efficacious (through various proven clinical evidence published in peer-reviewed publications of scientific merit), Health Canada issues an NPN number. Products with an E-number have been deemed safe and are in queue to be assessed for efficacy to receive an NPN number. Health Canada has their own Monographs (guidelines for all vitamins and minerals) to which we comply with. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) and UL (Tolerable Upper Intake) values are established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in collaboration with Health Canada.
The study suggests that there is a link between women multi vitamin users between 55-69 years of age and an increased mortality rate.
Women Ages: 55-69
No. women in study: +38,000
Length of Study: 19 years
Conclusion: During the 19 year period, approx 40% died. Those who regularly took multi vitamins, iron, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc and copper had a slightly higher risk of death than those who took no supplements at all.
It is important to note the following about this Study:
- During the Study’s 19 years, 41% of multi vitamin users died, compared to 40% of non-users. Given the authors’ utilization of the P value, the 1% divide puts into question the statistical as well as clinical significance of this study.
- The women in the study were between 55-69 years of age and would have concluded the study between 74 and 88 years of age. This calls into question the cause of death, especially given the advanced age of many of the participants.
- The study didn’t look at a possible direct cause-and-effect dynamic. It was an observational study based on self-reported supplement use and, even the authors qualify that a range of factors aside from the use of supplements could have impacted the outcome.
- The authors say that previous research has shown that vitamin users tend to have healthier lifestyles, in general. They admit that it’s possible that some of the women took vitamins to remedy health problems or diseases that may have influenced their death risk.
- CRN’s Dr. Mackay said, “It’s important to keep in mind that this is an associative – not a cause and effect – study. Further, the authors themselves have noted additional limitations. In fact when the authors did their initial [minimum adjustment] analysis, it appears they actually found benefit for many of the supplements, not just calcium; yet instead of stopping there, they went on to “further adjust” the data, possibly until they found statistics worthy of this publication’s acceptance. The study may make for interesting scientific water cooler discussion, but certainly does not warrant sweeping, overstated concerns for elderly women.”
- The Alliance for Natural Health International’s (ANHI), Dr. Robert Verkerk PhD said, “This study is a classic example of scientific reductionism being used to fulfill a particular need. In this case, it’s supplement bashing…Our view is that the self reporting questionnaires, and lack of any supporting data on nutrient status of the study’s subjects, means that the majority of the trends emerging from the adjusted data on which the study’s conclusions were based are likely to be anomalous.”
- The UK Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) scientific adviser, Dr. Michèle Sadler said, “This type of study only demonstrates an association and does not tell us whether taking supplements caused these particular effects. The study has many other limitations including the unknown, longer term health status of women taking the supplements, which is more likely to be linked to mortality than the supplements themselves. It’s a case of which comes first, the chicken or the egg, and raises the question of how many women were taking the supplements because of ill health. How such a wide range of essential nutrients is supposed to have these effects is another unanswered question.”
Please see this article on JunkScience.com (All the Junk That’s Fit to Debunk) http://junkscience.com/2011/10/10/multivitamins-kill-older-women/
Please note that we stand behind the safety and efficacy of our products as approved by Health Canada for sale in this country.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.800.268.9879.
The Swiss NaturalTM Team