Are Vitamin Supplements Safe?

Anyone who recently has been reading the major newspapers, surfing for news on the Internet or just watching the news on television likely has been surprised by the claim that “vitamins are deadly.” The Wall Street Journal (October 25, 2011) asks, “Is This the End of Popping Vitamins?” And the Archives of Internal Medicine just published “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women,” an article that comes to the conclusion that “in older women, several commonly used dietary vitamin and mineral supplements may be associated with increased total mortality risk.” A second study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA) claims that men who take vitamin E are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. What is to be made of such claims? Are they true, false, or something in between? How can the non-expert decide?

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