Dietary supplements, fortified food and drinks: can they be detrimental to our health?

Nutrient intakes are exceeding the safe limits established by the Institute of Medicine

vitamin-water van image
Some nutrition scientists are concerned that with the profusion of fortified foods, beverages and supplements, many people may be ingesting levels of vitamins and other nutrients that are not only unnecessary, but potentially harmful… Image via fabonthemoon.

2014 Study Abstract

Dietary supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., and their use is increasing exponentially. Additionally, many foods and beverages are increasingly being fortified with single or multiple vitamins and minerals. Consequently, nutrient intakes are exceeding the safe limits established by the Institute of Medicine. In this paper, we examine the benefits and drawbacks of vitamin and mineral supplements and increasing consumption of fortified foods (in addition to dietary intake) in the U.S. population. The pros and cons are illustrated using population estimates of folic acid, calcium and vitamin D intake, highlighting concerns related to overconsumption of nutrients that should be addressed by regulatory agencies.

Sources and more information
  • Food Fortification and Supplement Use – Are there Health Implications? NCBI PubMed PMID: 25036360, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Jul 18:0.
  • Are Vitamin Drinks a Bad Idea? well.blogs.nytimes, JANUARY 30, 2015.

Not in my Food!

Did you tell regulators that we prefer EDC-free meals?

EDCs-cartoon
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health comics album on Flickr. Image via @EuropePAN

On Flickr®

Hypospadias in sons of women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero

DES increases the risk of risk of reproductive tract abnormalities in offspring

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Moderate increase risk of hypospadias in the DES Sons regarding this 2005 study.

2005 Study Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic estrogen that was widely prescribed to pregnant women before 1971. DES increases the risk of breast cancer in women who took the drug and the risk of reproductive tract abnormalities in their offspring. Dutch investigators have reported a 20-fold increase in risk of hypospadias among sons of women who were exposed to DES in utero. We assessed this relation in data from an ongoing study of DES-exposed persons.

METHODS:
Several U.S. cohorts of women with documented exposure in utero to DES have been followed by mailed questionnaires since the 1970s. Comparison subjects are unexposed women of the same ages. In 1997, participants were asked about congenital abnormalities in their children. We calculated prevalence odds ratios for the risk of hypospadias in sons of exposed mothers relative to sons of unexposed mothers using generalized estimating equations to adjust for multiple sons per mother and controlling for maternal age at the son’s birth.

RESULTS:
We obtained data from 3916 exposed and 1746 unexposed women. These women reported a total of 13 liveborn sons with hypospadias (10 exposed, 3 unexposed). The prevalence odds ratio for risk of hypospadias among the exposed was 1.7 (95% confidence interval = 0.4-6.8).

CONCLUSIONS:
Our findings do not support a greatly increased risk of hypospadias among the sons of women exposed to DES in utero, as has been previously reported.

Sources
  • Hypospadias in sons of women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero,
    NCBI PMID: 15951681, Epidemiology. 2005 Jul;16(4):583-6.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Have we become too reliant on modern medicines?

If we became too dependent on medication, could this be doing us more harm than good?

otc-medicine image
If we became too dependent on medication, could this be doing us more harm than good?

Over 30% of us have used two or more prescription drugs in the past month. On top of that, around 81% of adults in the US use over-the-counter drugs as a first response to minor conditions…

Medical News Today looked at whether we have become too reliant on medication and, if so, what the consequences are:

  • Addiction and overdosing
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • The side effects of long-term, inappropriate and multiple medication use
  • Are doctors overprescribing medication?
  • Drug advertising: influencing both doctors and patients?
  • What can we do to avoid unnecessary medication?

Read Have we become too dependent on medication?
medicalnewstoday, 29 January 2015.

More information