A study of 38,000 women suggests that taking certain vitamins may shorten your life. Supposed culprits included migraine-fighting magnesium. So the question is – could that migraine-fighter be killing you?
The truth is, you probably have very little to worry about if you’re taking vitamins responsibly. Here’s why.
First, the study wasn’t controlled for every health factor. How could it be? For example, what if a disease shortens your life, and you’re taking vitamins for that? Although some such variables were checked, there are just too many unknowns.
Second, the study relied on the memory of each person. How accurately do you think each participant could remember exactly how what vitamins they took over a lifetime?
And think about this – are people who take more vitamins generally just as healthy as everyone else? Many are taking a supplement because they already don’t feel as healthy as the average person. In addition, a recent study at Psychological Science suggested that many who take vitamins feel they can "cheat" in other ways – skipping good exercise or diet choices.
In the end, this study isn’t giving a lot of solid answers. However, it is true that often vitamin-taking isn’t as helpful as people think. So should you stop taking your vitamins?
You should probably stick to the vitamins – if you have a good reason for taking them. That doesn’t mean a vague idea that more vitamins is better. Instead, it means doing your research and finding out what’s worthwhile to take. For example, the research clearly shows the benefits of magnesium for migraineurs. If it helps you, the benefits of cutting down on migraine symptoms could very well lengthen your life, not shorten it.
Do know why you’re taking your vitamins – then make healthy choices in the rest of your life. Proper rest, good exercise, and a healthy diet are generally going to be far more important that which vitamins you do or do not take.
Finally, be sure to take good quality vitamins. We often talk about which supplements and vitamins to take – which brands, etc. Do your research. A cheap alternative may be useless when a more expensive brand you can’t find at the local pharmacy may be just what you need.
Is this study proof you should stop taking your vitamins? No way. But take them wisely.