Will taking multivitamins protect you from dying of cancer or heart disease? The answer is no, according to new research.
In a study of more than 180,000 people, scientists saw the same number of deaths from cancer and heart disease among multivitamin-takers and those who did not take the supplements.
"People need to understand that just taking these multivitamins is not sufficient to prevent disease," said Jennifer Hsiang-Ling Lin, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who did not work on the study.
Does this mean that what you eat has no bearing on your health?
Of course not. If you eat foods that have vitamins in them, you do get reductions in cancer and heart disease ... just not when they're in the form of pills.
Multiple past studies have shown no link between multivitamins and reduced risk of cancer or heart disease. Other recent research couldn't prove that multivitamins protect against diabetes, either.
But more than half of U.S. adults choose to take multivitamins, according to Lin.
Altogether, Park's team looked at the vitamin-popping habits of more than 82,000 men and nearly 100,000 women, who were an average of 60 years old. Then they tracked how many died, and the causes, over the next 11 years.
The multivitamins didn't seem to protect users from cancer in general, or from cancers of the lung, colon, rectum, prostate, or breast.
According to Consumer Reports, Americans spent almost $4.7 billion on multivitamins in 2008. Depending on the type, supplements range from $3 to $16 a month.
Do vitamins stop cancer, heart attacks? Study: no | Reuters