Thursday, February 12, 2009

Massive study casts doubt on health benefits of multivitamins

Multivitamins don’t protect women against heart attack, stroke, cancer or an early death, according to a massive study involving tens of thousands of women.

Millions of women take multivitamins, often in the hope the popular supplements will prevent cancer and other diseases.

But the largest study ever conducted in post-menopausal women has found “convincing evidence” that multivitamin use has “little or no influence” on the risk of common cancers, cardiovascular disease or dying from any cause in post-menopausal women.

The research involved 161,808 American women, age 50 to 79, who are part of the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative, the largest study of women’s health. A total of 41.5 per cent of the women used multivitamins. The most popular was a multivitamin with minerals.

The women were enrolled in the trial between 1993 and 1998. After an average eight years of followup, researchers found no evidence multivitamins either increased or decreased the risk of cancers of the breast (invasive), colon/rectum, endometrium, ovary, kidney, bladder, stomach or lung.

They also found no significant effect on the risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots in the veins. ...more

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