Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2013 Contents for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) said most people
don t take vitamins or minerals to protect against
heart disease or cancer.
"We have both government data and our own con-
sumer study that we do every year," Mister said.
"Primarily, they take these vitamins or multivitamins
because they know they re not eating the diet that
they should ... They help to fill in those gaps."
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, November 16, 2013
There is little evidence that vitamin and mineral
supplements protect people from cancer and heart
problems, according to a new analysis.
Based on those findings, a US Government-back
panel issued draft recommendations that echo its
previous conclusion: it cannot recommend for or
against taking vitamins and minerals to prevent those
"At this point in time the science is not sufficient
for us to estimate how much benefit or harm there
is from taking vitamin or multivitamin supplements
to prevent cancer or heart disease," Dr Michael LeFevre
LeFevre is co-vice chair of the US Preventive Serv-
ices Task Force (USPSTF), which issues recommen-
dations to help guide doctors and health systems.
The USPSTF sponsored the new analysis.
The panel s draft statement also says neither beta-
carotene nor vitamin E should be taken to prevent
heart disease or cancer.
Previously, beta-carotene was found to further
increase the risk of lung cancer among people who
are already at an increased risk.
Approximately 600,000 people die of heart disease
in the US every year, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. Another 580,000
die of cancer, the American Cancer Society says.
Cancer and heart disease share a number of risk
factors including inflammation, researchers wrote in
the Annals of Internal Medicine. Animal and lab
studies have suggested supplements may guard against
some of those risk factors.
It s estimated that Americans spend about $12 bil-
lion each year on supplements.
For the new analysis, Dr Stephen Fortmann and
his colleagues from the Kaiser Permanente Center
for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, analysed
studies that examined vitamin and mineral use to
prevent cancer and heart disease.
After searching online medical research databases
for studies published between January 2005 and Jan-
uary 2013, the researchers included data from 26
Those studies examined the effects of multivitamins
or specific vitamins and minerals taken together or
The studies included anywhere from 128 to over
72,000 participants with average ages between 22
and 77. The average age for most studies was greater
than 50, however.
Participants were not taking supplements for any
known nutritional deficiencies, such as low vitamin
D levels. The researchers found there was no difference
in deaths between people taking multivitamins and
people taking placebo pills or nothing. Also, there
was no effect of multivitamins on fatal or non-fatal
Two trials did show a small reduction in new can-
cers over a 10-year period, but only in men.
Fortmann and his colleagues concluded there is
no consistent evidence that supplements - multi-
vitamins or otherwise---affect the risk of heart disease,
cancer or death among adults.
That, they write, is consistent with earlier findings.
But they caution that there are few quality studies
on supplements other than vitamin E and beta-
After reviewing six trials on each, the researchers
found vitamin E did not have any benefits. Beta-
carotene increased the risk of lung cancer among
"The main message is that there s not much evi-
dence of a long term health benefit to taking most
of the vitamins that people are taking," Fortmann
told Reuters Health.
"But one has to qualify that comment, because
we only looked at evidence through heart disease,
cancer and deaths and it s hard to show an effect on
Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council
Supplements may not guard
against cancer, heart disease
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
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