Will a multivitamin cut your risk of disease? For heart disease and stroke, the answer appears to be no.
“In the Physicians’ Health Study II, we found no evidence overall that taking a multi for more than a decade prevented heart attacks or strokes any more than taking a placebo,” says Harvard epidemiologist Howard Sesso, who led the study. “But it didn’t increase risk, either.”
That’s consistent with the results of most observational studies. In the Multiethnic Cohort Study and the Women’s Health Initiative cohort, for example, people who said that they took a multivitamin were no more or less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who said that they didn’t take one. Nor did they have a lower or higher risk of cancer.
That’s why the Physicians’ Health Study II made big news in 2012.
Sources: Am. J. Epidemiol. 173: 906, 2011; Arch. Intern. Med. 169: 294, 2009.
Other relevant links:
- Research suggests multivitamins may not prevent colds. See: Can Multivitamins Prevent a Cold?
- Can a multivitamin protect against disease? See: Multivitamins as cheap insurance for an inadequate diet
- Our list of the best multivitamins. See: The Best Multis