Multivitamin Save You, Really?

Hello everyone, and happy Week 8.

I hope everyone survived midterms last week; I cruised through the 3 we had. It's a good feeling leaving an exam knowing you were prepared and did well, and to reward myself, my pals and I went to Epcot in Orlando for the weekend for the Food and Wine Festival. This was my first time hitting this festival that Epcot puts on every year. There were 29 countries represented, with native food and drinks from each, and we tried all of them (at least the drinks anyway). If you are on the fence between our Florida campus and the campus in Lombard, maybe the 45-min. drive to Orlando from Tampa might sway you.



Today's blog is somewhat at the advice of Dr. David Seaman, our Clinical Nutrition professor. Last week, as we were preparing for his midterm, we had a discussion about a recent article that was published earlier this month regarding the use of multivitamins and a higher risk of mortality in older women. The researchers followed up with about 42,000 women with an average age of 62 from 1986 to 2008, half of which supplemented with multivitamins and half who did not. The researchers charted the participant's deaths, excluding deaths from accidents, injury and suicide. Their conclusion was that most dietary supplements were unrelated to total mortality rate; however, several commonly used dietary vitamin and mineral supplements were associated with increased total mortality rate, including iron.

When assessing the researcher's data, before all the crazy modifications to the numbers that researcher's often do, we found a 1:1 ratio of women who passed away who supplemented to women who did not supplement. This tells me that it seems like supplementing with a multivitamin has no bearing on prolonging someone's life.

One has to take into consideration, though, the lifestyle that these women lead. It is ridiculous to think that a lifetime of poor dietary habits can be somehow erased away with one magic pill. Just as an example, vitamins C & E found in multivitamins have excellent antioxidant properties, but without an adequate diet fortified with Magnesium or vitamin D, those very antioxidants can be converted to free radicals themselves. So, I guess the lesson from this article is two-fold: 1) never take what you read for granted (because this is the stuff that your patients will be reading); and 2) lead a healthy life. 


I'd like to conclude this week by sending our condolences from Florida to the family of Frank Strehl, DC, DABCI, who passed away this weekend. Though we did not have the privilege of meeting or learning directly from Dr. Strehl, we benefited from his knowledge through notes, and through some of our professors who were taught by Dr. Strehl while at National. Dr. Strehl was a model for our profession, appearing as an expert witness on several occasions, in addition to his service to National. So if you have a moment today, please take a minute to remember Dr. Strehl, he will be missed.