Ineffective, Sometimes Dangerous!
A key study found daily multivitamin did nothing to
slow cognitive decline among senior men 65 and older; another says
multivitamins and minerals do not protect against secondary
cardiovascular in people age 50 and older
Dec. 17, 2013 -
Editorial writers responding to three articles on vitamin and mineral
supplementation being published in Annals of Internal Medicine
urge U.S. adults to stop wasting their money on dietary
supplements. The authors cite the large body of accumulated evidence
showing that most multivitamin supplements are ineffective, and some may
The author's concluded,
"B-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A
supplements are harmful. Other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins,
and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing
mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases."
The message is simple, the authors write. Most
supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not
justified, and they should be avoided.
Summaries of two of the articles appear below.
The third article
was previously published in Annals of Internal Medicine as an
early online release. The review by the United States Preventive
Services Task Force found insufficient evidence that multivitamins
prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, or death.
Long-term multivitamin use does not preserve
cognitive function in senior men
of a large, randomized, placebo-controlled trial being published in
Annals of Internal Medicine shows that long-term use of a daily
multivitamin did nothing to slow cognitive decline among men 65 and
Multivitamins are the most commonly used dietary
supplements in the United States. A typical daily multivitamin contains
a combination of nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, E, β-carotene and B
vitamins, thought to have properties that could help prevent cognitive
decline. However, their benefit in preventing age-related cognitive
decline is unclear.
Researchers assigned 5,947 male physicians aged 65
and older to take either a daily multivitamin or placebo for 12 years.
After an initial cognitive assessment, the men were tested for cognitive
function and verbal memory via telephone interview three additional
times at approximately two, six, and 10 years.
The researchers saw no difference in cognitive
function between the multivitamin and placebo groups, concluding that
there is no benefit for taking a daily multivitamin to prevent cognitive
High doses of multivitamins and minerals do not
protect against cardiovascular events following myocardial infarction
Taking high doses of multivitamins and minerals
does not protect against secondary cardiovascular events in stable
patients receiving appropriate care after myocardial infarction (MI),
according to a study
being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers randomly assigned 1,708 patients aged
50 years or older who had MI at least six weeks earlier and had serum
creatinine levels of 176.8 µmol/L (2.0 mg/dL) or less to take either an
oral 28 component high-dose multivitamin and multimineral mixture or
Patient records were reviewed to determine time to
death, recurrent MI, stroke, coronary revascularization, or
hospitalization for angina. While the multivitamin and mineral regimen
was not harmful, it did not seem to reduce cardiovascular events in
patients receiving appropriate, evidence-based medical therapy following
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