Vitamin Studies: Rebuttal to Allegation That Certain Vitamins May Shorten Lifespan

It is almost inconceivable to think that for the greater part of the 20th century, a "scientific" debate raged as to whether cigarette smoking was dangerous. Another long running controversy focused on whether food choices (i.e. diet) had any effect on how long people lived. It was not until the later part of the 20th century that the FDA admitted that high saturated fat diets increase heart attack risk.

Today’s unanimous recommendation to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is a relatively recent phenomenon. Just 50 years ago, when mid-life heart attack rates were nearly triple what they are now, it was not unusual for people (especially men) to eat virtually no fruits or vegetables in many countries. Even now, the processed food industry heavily lobbies government agencies to not recommend disease-preventing foods to the public.

Just as companies that profited by selling cigarettes and processed foods egregiously misled the public in the past, today’s consumers are confronted with so-called "scientific" reports that question the value of some dietary supplements. A report released on April 16, 2008 went as far as to suggest that certain vitamins might shorten lifespan . All of this is reminiscent of the scientific charade perpetrated by tobacco companies who falsely claimed that cigarettes did not cause lethal disease. In this case, the economic beneficiaries will be pharmaceutical companies who can expect increased sales of prescription drugs to those who fall for the latest media hype. The Life Extension Foundation offers a comprehensive look at the evidence presented and counters these claims.
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