Older women have a slightly higher risk of dying at a younger age if you take multivitamins or some other dietary supplements, according to a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Of the 15 supplements included in the study, iron was more strongly linked to increased risk of premature death. Women who took iron supplements were 10% more likely to die during the 22-year study than women who did not take them, even after the researchers controlled for the health of various other demographic factors.
Folic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, copper and multivitamins were also associated with an increased risk of premature death. Calcium was the only supplement associated with a lower risk of death during the study.
"I do not think we really know enough to be prescribed supplements," said David Jacobs Jr., Ph.D., lead study author and professor of public health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Jacobs points out, however, that people who have been prescribed a vitamin dietary supplements or specific nutrient deficiency should not stop taking them without consulting your doctor.