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Evidence unclear on whether supplements prevent CVD, cancer

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has posted a draft recommendation statement and final evidence report on vitamin, mineral and multivitamin suplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, stating there is not enough evidence to establish cause-and-effect.

The task force is providing an opportunity for public comment on this draft statement until Dec. 9, after which it will issue a final recommendation.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are commonly used in the U.S., with half of adults taking at least one dietary supplement, according to the task force. People take vitamin and mineral supplements for many reasons, such as improving their overall health and preventing illness.

For this recommendation, the task force focused specifically on whether these nutrients could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

The group found there generally is not enough evidence to determine whether taking single or paired nutrients, or a multivitamin, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer, Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH, task force co-chair, said in a news release.

In the cases of beta-carotene and vitamin E, supplements “clearly do not help prevent these diseases,” LeFevre said.


Based on the lack of evidence, the task force determined that it cannot recommend for or against taking vitamins and minerals alone, as pairs or in a multivitamin to help prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer. However, the task force found sufficient evidence to recommend against using either beta-carotene or vitamin E for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

“The evidence shows that there is no benefit to taking vitamin E and that beta-carotene can be harmful because it increases the risk of lung cancer in people who are already at increased risk for lung cancer,” task force member Wanda Nicholson, MD, MPH, MBA, said in the news release.

“In the absence of clear evidence about the impact of most vitamins and multivitamins on cardiovascular disease and cancer, healthcare professionals should counsel their patients to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients. They should also continue to consider the latest scientific research, their own experiences and their patient’s health history and preferences when having conversations about nutritional supplements.”

Statement and opportunity to comment:

By | 2013-11-13T00:00:00-05:00 November 13th, 2013|Categories: National|0 Comments

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