As per the recent study which is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that older women who take certain dietary supplements may also be at a greater risk for dying. That would certainly be a problem for older women who take dietary supplements in the hopes of preventing chronic disease and death.
I took a look at the full study (here's the abstract) that was performed by gleaning information from the Iowa Women's Health Study. This is a large study, which is good, but it's important to understand that it's an observational study, not a clinical trial. This means the researchers can only look at what's going on with the subjects search for correlations between certain behaviors and outcomes, but it's difficult to confirm any direct cause and effects.
The researchers found that the group of older women who took certain dietary supplements had an increased death rate over the group who did not take dietary supplements. I think it's important to note that the increased risk for dying in the group who took the supplements wasn't huge, but it agrees with other studies of this type. And it was interesting to note that women who took calcium and vitamin D supplements actually had a decreased risk of dying.
So what does this mean? In my opinion, I think more attention should be focused on a healthy diet: lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of fiber, low-fat diary or other calcium sources should be at the heart of any diet. Add in some high-quality fats and proteins and keep the calorie count to keep you at a healthy weight. Should you avoid supplements completely? Well, vitamin D and calcium supplements appear to be a good idea, but you may wish to consult with your health care provider before taking any other supplements.