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Analysis: Multivitamins Do Not Help Us Live Longer

SupplementsTaking a daily multivitamin does not reduce the risk of dying from cancer or premature death in general, according to a recent analysis of the literature on the topic. The study was published last month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The analysis included 91 studies and approximately 91,000 people. All the studies were randomized controlled trials (RCT). The average age of the participants was 62 and they had taken a daily supplement for an average of three and a half years (43 months). The trials ranged from 1 year up to 11 years.

When the authors of the analysis pooled the research, they found no link between a daily multivitamin and premature death from any cause. They also found no association between taking a daily multivitamin and death from cancer or cardiovascular disease, the two diseases they analyzed independently. There were nine studies on multivitamins and death due to cancer.

The study comes on the heels of a major RCT published in October that found a daily multivitamin modestly reduced the risk of developing all cancers combined, but not cancer deaths.

This analysis focused only on multivitamins and mortality; there may be other health benefits of supplementation, the authors note in the conclusion.

Sources: Macpherson H, Pipingas A, Pase MP. “Multivitamin-multimineral supplementation and mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Am J Clin Nutr February 2013 ajcn.049304; First published 2012 Dec 19.

JAMA. "Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in MenThe Physicians' Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial." 2012;308(18):1871-1880

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