An eight-year study that looked at the effects of multivitamin use in older women found that the pills did nothing to prevent heart disease and cancer. The collected data is of an observational nature and not the result of rigorous scientific research, yet being that these results echo similar results found in a study with men, there’s less reason to think that vitamins offer any protection from serious diseases.
According to the study’s lead researcher Marian Neuhouser from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, “Get nutrients from food. Whole foods are better than dietary supplements.” Other researchers feel that multivitamins can still be helpful for those folks who have poor eating habits. But, on the heels of a study that found a similar lack of efficacy for older men and multivitamins, it seems that you shouldn’t count on multivitamins for any preventative powers against diseases.
After eight years, there was almost no difference in disease rates and death rates among the 162,000 50+ years old women in the study. The large number of subjects in the study makes the results noteworthy. Based on the results of this study people should re-evaluate whether or not they want to spend the money on multivitamins, especially if the rational for taking them is disease prevention.
Certainly, if you’ve never bothered to take multivitamins the results of this study won’t have you running out to the store to buy any. The results of this study illustrates just how much is still “unknown” when it comes to nutritional supplements as information can be found to support both sides of the argument.
Fitness consumers need to keep this in mind when making decisions about what they want to include in their supplement regimen, especially when trying to stay on a budget. As more research is done, there are fewer and fewer nutritional supplements that have a bona fide, scientifically sound track record of success. Keep in mind that there are no magic bullet nutritional supplements and that the proven key to health and longevity is engaging in regular exercise and following a balanced diet.