“We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful.”
That’s the word from a group of doctors whose study has just been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. As with most academic journals, the study is full of jargon so CBS News has dumbed it down for us laypeople:
The first study, which was released online Nov. 12 in Annals, was a review of 24 studies and two trials on more than 350,000 individuals that looked at vitamin supplementation’s role in preventing chronic disease. The review was conducted to find evidence that can be used to update vitamin treatment guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of medical experts who recommend the government on treatments.
That review found no evidence that vitamin and mineral supplementation would reduce heart disease in pill takers. Two of the trials found a small, “borderline-significant benefit” in cancer risk reduction, but only in men. Overall, the panel concluded there was no solid evidence for or against taking vitamins and minerals alone, or that a multivitamin to prevent heart disease or cancer. More strikingly, it found enough evidence to recommend against taking beta-carotene or vitamin E for preventing both diseases, finding they not only didn’t help but the former may raise risk for lung cancer for already at-risk individuals.
“In the absence of clear evidence about the impact of most vitamins and multivitamins on cardiovascular disease and cancer, health care professionals should counsel their patients to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients,” the Task Force concluded.
The next study, published Dec. 16 in Annals, looked at cognitive health and whether long-term use of multivitamins would have any effect. Researchers assigned almost 5,950 male doctors aged 65 and older to take either a daily multivitamin or placebo for 12 years in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial,
Based on the results of memory tests, the researchers found the multivitamin did nothing to slow cognitive decline among men 65 and older compared to placebo takers.
“These data do not provide support for use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cognitive decline,” wrote the authors, led by Dr. Francine Grodstein, an epidemiologist who studies aging at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston…
[continues at CBS News]