(HealthDay News) — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has found that there is currently insufficient evidence to weigh the benefits and harms of multivitamins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer. This draft recommendation statement is based on an evidence review published online Nov. 12 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Stephen P. Fortmann, M.D., from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., and colleagues reviewed the literature to assess the benefits and harms of vitamin and mineral supplements for the primary prevention of CVD and cancer. The researchers found that based on two large trials involving 27,658 individuals, men taking a multivitamin for more than 10 years had lower cancer incidence (pooled unadjusted relative risk, 0.94; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.00), with no effect seen in women. No clear evidence of benefit or harm was seen in high-quality studies of single and paired nutrients, which were scant and heterogeneous. CVD and cancer were not prevented by vitamin E or β-carotene, and increased risk of lung cancer was seen with β-carotene in smokers.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF cannot recommend for or against taking vitamins or minerals alone, in pairs, or as a multivitamin to prevent CVD or cancer. The recommendation statement has been posted for public comment from Nov. 12 to Dec. 9, 2013.

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“There is not enough evidence to determine whether you can reduce your risk of CVD or cancer by taking single or paired nutrients, or a multivitamin,” Task Force co-chair Michael LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H., said in a statement.

Draft Recommendation Statement
Comment on Recommendations
Background Review