Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 15:07 UK

Your comments on vitamins

Vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to premature death, according to research carried out at Copenhagen University. Readers from across the world have send their reaction to BBC News website.

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Although I eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, I've been taking a multi-vitamin and mineral tablet and a separate vitamin C tablet on and off for years. I used to suffer from colds and flu when stressed and during periods at college and university there was a time when I would recover from one cold only to catch another a week later. Supplementing my diet with vitamins and minerals has reduced my susceptibility to these colds - I've gone from being stuck in a non-stop cycle of one illness after the other to getting only one or two colds a year.
Betty, Oxford, UK

This study is just another blatant effort by the pharma/medical industry to cause unnecessary worry and concern over taking helpful dietary supplements. Today's diet does not contain the vitamins and minerals from the soil that it used to because of intensive farming methods. I am someone who has been through breast cancer without drugs or radiotherapy - despite the recommendations of my doctors - and took to a regime that included dietary supplements. I was diagnosed in 2001 and have no regrets or doubts as I remain healthier than ever.
Alyssa Burns-Hill, Guernsey

We need the details of this study. Overwhelming evidence previously has suggested that antioxidants are wholly beneficial, though no substitute for healthy eating of a balanced diet. Vitamin E in large doses can cause cardiac arrhythmias and Se is certainly toxic in high doses. The vitamin A data are particularly interesting.
Dr Howard A. Jones, Whitland, Carmarhenshire, UK

I take vitamin D, which technically isn't a vitamin as it's not a nutrient. We get it naturally from the sun by conversion of a skin enzyme and it has steroid hormone functions. I take natural vitamin D (D3) because people no longer get as much sun as they use to, so this supplementation is a replacement for clothing and indoor living. I take it at a higher than recommended dose, but still half of what nature could give me daily. D is an important one as it's a natural anti-inflammatory among other things.
NS, England

Vitamin supplements help and are not a substitute
Joel Kosminsky, London
As a veggie on full shifts, therefore eating irregularly (and oddly), I need something on top of a 'healthy diet and exercise'. Vitamin supplements help, and are not a substitute; the problem is I don't know which vitamins I may be deficient in, but supplements are all-or-nothing. I can't just give up supplements, as after a twelve hour night turn, I am not awake enough to cook safely and more often not minded to cook, so a sarnie, a drink, some kip and a supplement with the next 'breakfast' seems a sensible way forward. Any other ideas?
Joel Kosminsky, London

Not a big surprise to me. It's been known for a long time that you can overdo the B complex. The only time I take vitamin pills is when I feel I'm about to go down with a cold or 'flu. Even then - only vitamin C (and it usually works!). Other than that - lots of fresh veggies and fruit.
Dave Edwards, London

I exercise regularly and try to eat a balanced diet, I also go through periods of take multi-vitamin supplements as an additional means of staying healthy. I have noticed that once I start a course of vitamin supplements that my health suffers for the first couple of weeks and I suffer from coughs and colds etc; This research and my own experience makes me think that I will give up the supplements for good.
Mark Hitchins, Chepstow, Wales

I'm 48, and just over six years ago I went to my GP being fed up with having very heavy colds twice a year, year after year. It wasn't so bad that I ever took time off work but it regularly ruined every Christmas and Easter holiday for me. The last two bouts I had were flu, which were of course much worse and I did have time off work. My GP suggested I try a daily high dose (1000 to 2000mgs) of vitamin C at the key risk times, which seemed to be November/December and March/April. She said there was some evidence to suggest it may work. I accept it could be a coincidence, but I've not had a cold, or flu for six years now, and as far as I'm concerned it was one of the best pieces of medical advice I've ever had.
David Allen, Sidcup, England

You shouldn't blindly take anything without knowing about your individual body's true requirements
James, Hampshire
I recently found out that I have a genetic disorder which results in iron overload. Iron is added to all sorts of foods and you think it's an advantage but in my case it was adding to my problems. You shouldn't blindly take anything without knowing about your individual body's true requirements. The only advice which applies to all people is eat a healthy, balanced diet.
James, Hampshire, UK

I am very concerned with this finding. This is not the first time I am coming across a finding like this. I have been a long time consumer of supplements ranging from Vitamin C, B-complexes and multivitamins as it's expensive and quite simply impossible to have a well-balanced diet being a student nowadays. But to come across articles like this send a big jolt to the system. What should I do now?
Wilson, Simferopol, Ukraine

As recommended by my doctor, I take one multi-vitamin pill daily with my breakfast, along with an Omega-3 fish oil pill. I find this research quite interesting and I will need to re-consult with my doctor and possibly exclude my daily vitamin intake if he agrees.
Wael, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

"The researchers linked vitamin A supplements to a 16% increased risk of dying." What a stupid statement. We all die. There is a 100% certainty - not 'risk' - of dying. To say that vitamin A supplements lead to an 'increased risk of dying' is totally meaningless unless you also state the parameters this refers to (dying before the age of 60, for example). Could you say something which makes sense, or not say it at all, please
Anthony Owen, Casablanca, Morocco

It seems like everything we eat and drink is harmful in some way or another so we should not eat or drink anything should we listen to the scientists and study groups!! But then that'll kill us too so we're in trouble either way! I take bee pollen every day, cod liver oil and glucosamine supplements as I cycle a great deal and have old joint injuries....it works for me and I'm rather fit and don't look my age at all.
Alan Fisher, Cork, Ireland

Scientists, please get your act together and stop confusing us ordinary people
Emmanuel Apreku Dentu, Accra, Ghana
We are being bombarded with conflicting 'scientific' information, particularly about diet. What are we non-scientists to do, stop eating? Not too long ago scientists trumpeted the goodness of margarine and told us how butter could be bad for health. Now they are telling us margarine is even worse than butter. I shouldn't be surprised to hear, or read, very soon that water, too, is bad for the body. Scientists, please get your act together and stop confusing us ordinary people, so that we do not die carrying into the grave the guilt that we must have brought all this upon our head.
Emmanuel Apreku Dentu, Accra, Ghana

I have been on ACE+selenium for years. I am 67 years of age. I think the pluses outdo the minuses. Don't be alarmed by such review. After all expectancy of life is relative. Live and enjoy while you can as long as you are not inflicted with cronic diseases. Stay on the supplements.
Ng Cheng Cheong, Singapore

I agree that we should get our nutrition from the most natural ways possible. Vitamins are often used by those of us who have found it impossible to both get all the nutrients we need and to not overeat. If given the choice between eating a moderate diet while taking supplements and eating everything needed to get all the nutrition regardless of the calories, I pick the vitamins.
Liz, Montgomery, AL, USA

My father who was an industrial chemist over 40-30 years ago warned us as a family of the harm that vitamin supplements could cause, especially vitamin A. He also suggested to us kids then - that supplements were simply a waste of money and that the binding ingredients used could clog up your system or harm you with prolonged use. He always advocated that a healthy balanced diet, with seasonal fruit and vegetables was the best way to go.
A Reader, Carmarthen, Wales

In my early 60s I suddenly started suffering from psoriasis. I kept a food diary to try to see if it was diet related and discovered that new skin eruptions seemed to be triggered by drinks containing high levels of citric acid. I looked at the vitamins I was taking (recommended for over 50s) and found that they contained double the recommended dose of vitamin C. I stopped taking these and relied on extra green vegetables to supply vitamin C in my diet and soon found that the psoriasis cleared up and has not returned.
Christine Whewell, Windsor, Berkshire

I am a chemical engineer who read that antioxidants are useful. The Bulgarian soil hasn't enough selenium and because of this, the content of this element is insufficient in the foodstuff. That's why the doctors often prescribe selenofgin. I worried when read this report.
Maya Yossifova, Sofia, Bulgaria




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