Vitamins

Can Vitamins Cause Death?

As we all know, our body needs the requisite vitamin supplements to stay healthy and to ward off ailments and deficiencies. However, beware of vitamin overdoses as it has been proved to be fatal. Elderly people have to be more careful about their daily dose of vitamins.

Vitamin supplements taken by millions of people every day for their health could be increasing their risk of death a new Danish-led study suggests.The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The international research team reviewed the published evidence on beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E, Vitamin C and selenium. The team was led by Dr Goran Bjelakovic, from Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.
These dietary supplements are marketed as antioxidants and people take them in the hope they will improve health and guard against diseases like cancer and heart disease by eliminating the free radicals that cause “oxidative stress” and damage and kill off cells.

The latest study by Johns Hopkins University found people who took even half of the recommended current maximum dose had an increased risk of death. Previous studies have suggested high dose vitamins, including vitamin E, can do more harm than good.

The Johns Hopkins team looked at 19 studies carried out between 1993 and 2004 involving more than 136,000 people. People who took daily vitamin E doses exceeding 400 “international units” (IU) per day (equivalent to about 270mg) had an increased risk of death by about 10% compared with those who did not.

Safe dosage

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency recommends a daily intake of between 3-4mg or 4.5-6 IU. In the US, the safety limit is as high as 1,000mg or 1,500 IU per day. Vitamin tablets can provide doses of 200-400mg (300-600 IU) per day.

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