Click on the arrow below to listen to this week’s podcast, or click here.
OK, let’s get the really bad news out of the way first: a major study this week which followed 39,000 women over 19 years showed that not only is there no major health benefit to taking a general multivitamin, but actually there was a 2.4% increase in deaths. In particular, as the New York Times summarizes:
Use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper were all associated with increased risk of death. The findings translate to a 2.4 percent increase in absolute risk for multivitamin users, a 4 percent increase associated with vitamin B6, a 5.9 percent increase for folic acid, and increases of 3 to 4 percent in risk for those taking supplements of iron, folic acid, magnesium and zinc.
This is not a surprising finding to me, as I already stopped taking a multivitamin last year after reviewing other recent large studies which also find essentially no major benefit, and some risks, in a multivitamin. The main issue is that most healthy adults get plenty of these compounds from their diet, and excess amounts of iron, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E and others can actually hurt a lot more than help. In fact, another major study this week showed how vitamin E supplements increase the risk of prostate cancer. How many of you take a multivitamin?
The second news story this week on my podcast discusses the bad news around Steve Jobs’ death, which is bringing the spotlight upon pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, unfortunately, as most people are diagnosed late into the disease, and it’s extremely difficult to treat. Can lifestyle help? The data on a super-healthy diet is actually not convincing; the strongest risk factors are smoking and obesity, both which raise the risk almost twice the norm.
More Podcast Information
You can always listen live to my radio interview each Wednesday around 7:35am Beijing time, on the Beijing Hour program on EZFM 91.5, which is broadcast from 7-8am every weekday by host Paul James. EZFM is the popular bilingual radio station on the China Radio International network, broadcasting here in Beijing and on multiple stations all over the world, as well as live online here.
You can listen to all my previous podcasts at the podcast archive.
Follow me on: