Vitamins do not help prevent heart disease, cancer: Scientists
Zee Media Bureau
Washington: In a blow to the $28 billion US vitamin industry, a US task force has warned that vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements do not help prevent heart disease or cancer, instead they could do more harm than good.
The US Preventive Services Task Force released new recommendations Monday on vitamin, mineral, and multivitamin supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, the two most fatal diseases in America.
The task force said that in fact, beta-carotene supplements may be harmful because it ups the risk of lung cancer in people who are already at increased risk for the disease.
However, the task force concluded there is not enough evidence to determine the effectiveness of taking vitamins and minerals to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.
While many people take vitamins and mineral supplements to improve or maintain overall health, this new recommendation is limited to use of these vitamins and supplements specifically for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“Cardiovascular disease and cancer have a significant health impact in America, and we all want to find ways to prevent these diseases,” said Task Force chair Virginia Moyer.
“However, we found that there is not enough evidence to determine whether taking single or paired nutrients or a multivitamin helps to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer,” added Moyer.
“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 the disease,” said Task Force co-chair Michael LeFevre.
“Due to the uncertain benefit of vitamin supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer, health care professionals should use their best judgement and consider their patient's health history, values, and preferences when having conversations about nutritional supplements,” Lefevre said.
The task force asks people to opt for a well-balanced diet rather than taking vitamins to prevent heart disease or cancer.
Adequate nutrition by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it said.
With Agency Inputs