Dietary supplements and mortality rate in older women: The Iowa women's health study

Jaakko Mursu, Kim Robien, Lisa J Harnack, Kyong Park, David R Jacobs Jr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Although dietary supplements are commonly taken to prevent chronic disease, the long-term health consequences of many compounds are unknown. Methods: We assessed the use of vitamin and mineral supplements in relation to total mortality in 38 772 older women in the Iowa Women's Health Study; mean age was 61.6 years at baseline in 1986. Supplement use was self-reported in 1986, 1997, and 2004. Through December 31, 2008, a total of 15 594 deaths (40.2%) were identified through the State Health Registry of Iowa and the National Death Index. Results: In multivariable adjusted proportional hazards regression models, the use of multivitamins (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02-1.10; absolute risk increase, 2.4%), vitamin B6 (1.10; 1.01-1.21; 4.1%), folic acid (1.15; 1.00- 1.32; 5.9%), iron (1.10; 1.03-1.17; 3.9%), magnesium (1.08; 1.01-1.15; 3.6%), zinc (1.08; 1.01-1.15; 3.0%), and copper (1.45; 1.20-1.75; 18.0%) were associated with increased risk of total mortality when compared with corresponding nonuse. Use of calcium was inversely related (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.88-0.94; absolute risk reduction, 3.8%). Findings for iron and calcium were replicated in separate, shorter-term analyses (10-year, 6-year, and 4-year follow-up), each with approximately 15%of the original participants having died, starting in 1986, 1997, and 2004. Conclusions: In older women, several commonly used dietary vitamin and mineral supplements may be associated with increased total mortality risk; this association is strongest with supplemental iron. In contrast to the findings of many studies, calcium is associated with decreased risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1625-1633
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Volume171
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2011

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