My Patients Ask — What about supplements for the prevention of cancer and heart disease?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued a draft recommendation statement on the use of supplements for preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. This is huge news!

HealthDay reported that the USPSTF concluded, “evidence is currently insufficient for determining the benefits and harms of most single or paired and multivitamin supplements . . . for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.”

This was also my conclusion in my most recent book, The Natural Medicines Handbook: The Truth about the Most Effective Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements for Common Conditions.

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Furthermore, USPSTF recommends against the use of beta-carotene and vitamin E . . . for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer” as these two substances have significant risk with no benefit.

Data were included from 78 studies, with 694,084 participants. Here are a few of the more significant findings.

The researchers found that compared with placebo, vitamin D, with or without calcium, was associated with a lower risk for all-cause mortality (odds ratio, 0.94; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.00) and cancer mortality (odds ratio, 0.88; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.79 to 0.97).

Beta-carotene, with or without vitamin A, was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular mortality and lung cancer (odds ratios [95 percent confidence intervals], 1.10 [1.02 to 1.19] and 1.20 [1.01 to 1.42]).

Clear evidence suggested that vitamin E offered no benefit for all-cause mortality, CVD events, and cancer.

Multivitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and selenium also had no effect on all-cause mortality, CVD, or cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is an independent, volunteer group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that makes recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screening tests, counseling services, and preventive medications.

The agency just released a draft recommendation statement on the matter. Comments can be submitted from May 4 through June 1, 2021, and then the agency will draft a final statement.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. It’s is designed to provide a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.


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