The titles of  the article of the Archive of Internal Medicine on older women and supplementation [1] is misleading. The main culprit  seems to be iron supplementation.

Quoting: “…mortality risk…….. is strongest with supplemental iron… In contrast to the findings of many studies, calcium is associated with decreased risk.”

Are these supplements going to help?

The Nutritional Outlook, , claims that the Iowa women study also shows that : “Use of several common dietary supplements was linked to increased mortality compared to non use…  multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and copper [were linked to an increased mortality] ….  Contrary to previous research, calcium was linked to a lower mortality risk, as were vitamins C, D, and E, and vitamin B complexes…”The  vitamin E result is controversial, since  it was linked to lower life expectancy by other studies[3].

Note that from their “About”:  “Nutritional Outlook is a leading resource for the manufacturers of dietary supplements and healthy food and beverages”

Particularly, you should discuss iron supplementation with your health professional



  1. Archives of Internal Medicine ; “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women” ; Oct 2011
  2. Nutritional Outlook; “Study Raises Concern over Dietary Supplements and Mortality Risk” ; Oct 2011
  3. Cochrane Library ;”Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases”


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