An 11-year study by The Journal of the American Medical Association reported data that multivitamins do not aid in preventing heart problems and disease. The Physicians’ Health Study II followed 14,661 male doctors, testing the effects of vitamins on cancer risk, heart disease and more.
The study – the largest and longest to examine vitamins and heart disease ever – confirms what many doctors have long believed to be true, that supplements are unlikely to impact the path of heart health. However, the study did show positive results relative to different cancers. The cancer and vitamins study, released last month, showed multivitamins lowered cancer risk by 8 percent.
“Vitamin supplements will never be a substitute for a healthy diet,” says study co-author JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. A healthy diet and exercise regimen, part can reduce cancer risks by 20 to 30%, previous studies have shown.
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Vitamin sales have proven a growing industry in the United States, growing from $4 billion in 1994 to $24 billion in 2008, the study says. In addition to the lowered cancer risk, Vice President for Scientific Affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition says vitamins do help fill some nutrient gaps and help reduce risk for birth defects.
The study showed no support that vitamins are damaging when taken in recommended doses, as some studies have previously shown, such as one that showed Vitamin E increases risk for hemorrhagic stroke.
With more than half of U.S. adults taking at least one dietary supplement, the study shows vitamins are certainly no miracle drug, but they can have positive effects in certain arenas.