Headlines: October 12, 2011
by Kyle Thomson
New research shows that a healthy diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the effect of a gene linked to increased risk in heart disease. Similarly, an unhealthy diet heavy in meat, fried food and salty food had nearly twice the risk of developing heart disease. A healthy lifestyle has always been associated with lower risk for health complications like heart disease, but this is direct evidence that environmental effects can control what would otherwise be a potentially life threatening genetic predisposition. The researchers cautioned that the study did not explain exactly how the interaction between environmental and genetic factors worked. Nonetheless, the study offers hope that people have more control over their health than previously thought.In other research news, a new study shows that dietary supplements are linked to higher mortality risk in older women. Some vitamins proved to have a greater association with mortality rates than others, and in all the study showed there is altogether little benefit to taking any kind of dietary supplement. The lone exception is calcium supplements, which are widely recommended to protect against bone fractures. The results of the study are not conclusive, but they raise serious questions about the safety and efficacy of taking dietary supplements, which currently at least half of all adults in America do.
Finally, more bad news for vitamin lovers today, as Vitamin E supplements were found to increase risk of prostate cancer in a recent study. The study was designed to test Vitamin E supplements as a way to decrease risk of prostate cancer found the exact opposite effect, with men who took the supplement facing a 17% greater likelihood of developing prostate cancer compared to those who took a placebo. The study adds further evidence that there is no health benefit to dietary supplements and that they may actually do more harm than good.