Another blow to the idea that taking vitamins helps to keep us healthy was published in the latest issue of the “Archives of Internal Medicine”. The study, called “Multivitamin Use and Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in the Women’s Health Initiative Cohorts”, looked at 161,000 post-menopausal women over an 8 year time period, to see whether vitamin supplements reduced cancer rates, cardiovascular disease, or improved overall mortality rates.
The investigators compared the rates for cancers of the breast, colon & rectum, endometrium, kidney, bladder, stomach, ovary, and lung, as well as the rates of heart attack, stroke, DVT (blood clot) and total mortality in the vitamin supplement group, versus the same rates in the group without supplements. Unfortunately, there was no statistical improvement in the vitamin group for any of these parameters. Not one.
So, this is a convincing piece of evidence that vitamins do not prevent common cancers or cardiovascular disease, nor do they extend one’s life expectancy, at least in the postmenopausal women of the study group.
What remains unanswered though, is whether there were any improvements in the “quality of life” parameters in the vitamin group. That’s where believers in supplements, not to mention the multi-billion dollar supplement industry, are putting their hopes…