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Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Date:2/9/2009

Study finds they don't reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In yet another blow to the dietary supplement industry, researchers find no evidence that multivitamin use helps older women ward off heart disease and cancer, the top two killers of women, respectively.

"Women can be encouraged by the fact that these vitamins seem to do no harm, but they also seem to confer no benefit," said study co-author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, a professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "The kind of vitamins you get from diet is quite different, because foods are very complex and have a lot of chemicals we don't know about that interact with each other. [Eating a varied diet] is not the same as distilling it into a pill. The message is to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and maintain weight."

Other recent studies have suggested that supplement forms of vitamins B, C, D and E, along with folic acid and beta carotene, don't seem to have cancer-fighting abilities, especially in women.

And just last week, other researchers reported that many healthy U.S. children and teenagers may be popping vitamins and mineral supplements they don't need, even while children who may actually need the supplements aren't getting them.

However, all these findings, including the latest one, come with a caveat from another expert.

"There are a lot of variables associated with this study, and unless there is an actual randomized, controlled trial, we can't say anything," said Rajat Sethi, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville. "There have been a mixture of studies where vitamins indeed have indirectly shown benefit."

And Andrew Shao, vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible N
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