AANP Responds to Recent Study on Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women

October 12, 2011

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Santoro
(202) 237-8150

AANP Responds to Recent Study on Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women
All Supplement Use Should Be Discussed with Your Primary Care Provider

This Monday, the Archives of Internal Medicine released a new study, “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women,” suggesting that older women taking a multivitamin were at increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer.  The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) encourages a thoughtful analysis of this study, and reminds people of the need to consult with a primary care provider before beginning a supplement regimen.

As the study itself suggests, “It is not advisable to make a causal statement of excess risk” based on the outcome of this study.  Naturopathic physicians believe that promoting moderate exercise, healthy food, postive thoughts and a productive life should be the central focus of primary care. Only in illness and disease should doctors look for and treat deficiencies.

“Supplementation is appropriate for patients who are not able to obtain needed nutrients from food,” said Dr. Carl Hangee-Bauer, AANP President.  “Deficiencies may be clearly identified on patient intake, especially in at-risk subpopulations such as vegetarians, vegans, athletes, pregnant women and the elderly.  In these cases, nutrients should be supplemented to avoid severe deficiencies capable of causing disease.  That is true preventive medicine.”

Unfortunately, consumers are under-exposed to the many published studies that establish a benefit from dietary supplements.  This lack of parity makes it difficult for consumers to make fully-informed decisions about their own health.  All contemplated supplement usage should be discussed with qualified primary care providers, such as naturopathic physicians, who are the only group of medical providers trained in herb-drug and herb-nutrient interactions.

Naturopathic doctors are general practitioners who are experts in natural medicine and integrative therapies.  They train at four-year, post-graduate naturopathic medical schools that are accredited by an agency of the United States Department of Education.  Sixteen states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands regulate naturopathic medicine.  Learn more at naturopathic.org.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is a professional association that strives to make naturopathic medicine available to every American, and to increase recognition of naturopathic physicians as the identified authorities on natural medicine.