Sesso did point out that although there may be no good reason to spend money on a multivitamin to ease your heart risk, an analysis using the same Physicians' Health Study data (published two weeks ago in JAMA) did find a modest effect -- about an 8 percent reduction -- in preventing cancer.
Still, another expert said he would not recommend multivitamins.
"The danger of taking multivitamins is that it will lead you to think that you don't need to do the other lifestyle things that are important," Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said at the news briefing.
"I think that for many patients, they take a multivitamin or other supplements -- and it's a multibillion dollar industry -- as a means to improve their health as a quick fix," he said. "That can actually be dangerous and have negative effects, because they are not going to be doing the things related to their diet and physical activity or smoking."
"For many people, they take vitamin supplements as a crutch, and you want to avoid that scenario," Sesso said. "Multivitamins and vitamin supplements represent a quick fix if you will, and we know that there are some benefits that can be seen from multivitamins, like cancer, but for cardiovascular disease we did not see the benefit."
There's more on nutrition and the heart at the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Nov. 4, 2012, press briefing, annual meeting, American Heart Association, Los Angeles, with: Howard Sesso, Sc.D., M.P.H., associate epidemiologist and associate professor, Brigham and Women's Ho
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