Vitamins don’t protect against cancer

Vitamin pills may not protect against heart disease and cancer

Taking vitamin supplements may be a waste of time a new study has found.

The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal showed that multivitamins have no effect on the risk of either cancer or heart disease – or the risk of death.

More than 40% of the women quizzed as part of the Women’s Health Initiative in the US said they regularly took multivitamins. Members of the group who took supplements tended to be fitter, slimmer and more educated than non-vitamin users. They also had healthier diets, and were more likely to drink alcohol but less likely to smoke.

Over an eight-year study period, 9,619 women developed cancer. And, 8,751 had a heart attack or stroke.

But after adjusting for lifestyle and health differences, the researchers found that rates of cancer, heart disease, and death were much the same whether or not women took multivitamins.

Co-author of the study, Dr Marian Neuhouser, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle advises women to ‘get nutrients from food’. She added: ‘Whole foods are better than dietary supplements. Getting a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is particularly important.’

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