Multis Don't Prevent Disease in Women: Study

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2009 7:35 PM CST
Bottles of Vitamin E are seen in a CVS pharmacy November 11, 2004 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The largest study ever of multivitamin use in older women found the pills did nothing to prevent common cancers or heart disease, the AP reports. The 8-year study in 161,808 postmenopausal women echoes recent disappointing vitamin studies in men. "Get nutrients from food," the study's lead author advised. "Whole foods are better than dietary supplements."

Co-author Dr. JoAnn Manson said despite the disappointing results, the research doesn't mean multivitamins are useless. For one thing, the data are observational, not the most rigorous kind of scientific research. Also, it's not clear if taking vitamins might help prevent cancers that take many years to develop. She said multivitamins may still be useful "as a form of insurance" for people with poor eating habits.