"Jury out" on vitamin supplements

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has said that the "jury is still out" on the health benefits of vitamin supplements following research saying that some may be associated with reduced lifespan.

Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark reviewed previous studies of the effect of long-term vitamin supplement use on health.

It found that in 47 trials with 180,938 participants, people who took antioxidant supplements (beta carotene, vitamins A, E and C) were found to have a slightly higher chance of dying prematurely than those who were not taking the supplements. "Vitamin supplements do not seem to have the same benefits as getting naturally-occurring vitamins in your food," said Dr Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK.

"Although the jury is still out on the benefits of vitamin supplements, this research raises the possibility that they could actually cause harm in the long term.

"Cancer Research UK's best advice for people wanting to eat healthily and reduce their risk of cancer is to eat a diet rich in fibre, vegetables and fruit, and low in red and processed meat."

The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.