Supplement Use in Older Women?

Hi Shaklee Friends,

A few of you have expressed a concern about how to respond to inquiries about a recent study that hit the news regarding risks of supplement usage in older women. Generally these studies fade from the news as they are scrutinized and usually their findings are found faulty. Below and in the attachement is a response from Dr. Jaimie McManus and the Health Science team at Shaklee.

ShakleeResponsetoWomenNutritionStudy (1)

October 12, 2011
Dear Shaklee Consumer:
You may have heard about a study, Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women, published in the October 10 issue of the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine.
We believe the study results and conclusions are presented in a biased and unduly negative manner, when in fact, the results are inconclusive at best. It’s also very clear that this study should not be used to draw conclusions regarding the effects of supplementation on human health.
Some possible limitations of the study include:
1. The study is an observational study that only describes associations and does not prove cause and effect. It should be considered with all the research on dietary supplementation, including the Shaklee Landmark Study which showed that long-term Shaklee supplement users had markedly better health than both single supplement users and nonusers.
2. The study results actually show that calcium supplementation reduces risk for total mortality, but this positive finding is buried among the negative headlines. This seems indicative of the bias present in reporting the study results.
3. In the original study analysis, users of B vitamins, vitamins C, D, E, and calcium had significantly lower risk of total mortality compared to nonusers. Only after adjustment of the data were some of these nutrients associated with a very slight increased risk for total mortality.
4. Supplemental iron is identified as increasing the risk of total mortality in this elderly female population. Shaklee recognizes that supplemental iron is not required by seniors without specific iron needs, and this is precisely the reason our Vitalizer Gold product for adults age 50+ has never contained iron.
5. Supplemental copper was linked to a slightly increased risk of total mortality. Shaklee recognizes that copper intakes are generally adequate and this is reflected in the reduced levels of copper found in our 4 new Vitalizer formulas.
6. The dietary supplement collection tools were not validated for this population and the investigators presented no data to support their conclusions regarding dosage levels. We find it difficult to make conclusions regarding the effects of supplementation when intake levels are not reported.
7. There are no explanations or reasons given for supplement usage, nor was there any screening for individuals at higher risk of disease. In many cases we see increasing use of supplements for therapeutic reasons, especially with increasing age.
In closing, we believe that this study needs to be considered with the totality of the evidence supporting supplementation. The overwhelming body of research on supplementation supports the prudent use of dietary supplements as a part of a healthy lifestyle, to fill nutritional gaps in the diet, to support a high quality of life, and to support a longer, healthier life. At Shaklee, we believe that a preventive approach to health begins much earlier in life than in the 60’s and we commit to staying at the leading edge of science and health, and our products and health recommendations will always reflect these principles.
Shaklee Health Sciences

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