Subjects: Behavioral health
The millions of postmenopausal women who use multivitamins in the belief they prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and premature mortality can forget about it, according to Marian Neuhouser and colleagues at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
They don’t do any such thing.
To reach this conclusion, the scientists examined data from 161,808 participants in Women’s Health Initiative, an observational trial that enrolled women between 1993 and 1998 and tracked them through 2005.
The findings appear in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Nearly 42% of women in the study took multivitamins.
During the observation period, there were 9,865 deaths, 8,751 cardiovascular events and 9,619 cases of bladder, breast, colon, endometrial, kidney, lung, ovarian or stomach cancer.
The multivitamin poppers tended to be more physically active, more likely to consume alcohol, more likely to be white and less likely to smoke than nonvitamin poppers.
After controlling for these factors, the scientists observed no difference in disease outcomes between the 2 groups.
“Multivitamin use does not confer meaningful benefit or harm in relation to cancer or cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women,” they concluded.
It’s still possible that vitamins and other nutrients obtained from whole foods do impact survival, however.