ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Run for Your Life
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
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Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In yet another blow to the dietary supplement industry, researchers find no evidence that multivitamin use helps older women ward off heart disease and cancer, the top two killers of women, respectively.

"Women can be encouraged by the fact that these vitamins seem to do no harm, but they also seem to confer no benefit," said study co-author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, a professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "The kind of vitamins you get from diet is quite different, because foods are very complex and have a lot of chemicals we don't know about that interact with each other. [Eating a varied diet] is not the same as distilling it into a pill. The message is to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and maintain weight."

Other recent studies have suggested that supplement forms of vitamins B, C, D and E, along with folic acid and beta carotene, don't seem to have cancer-fighting abilities, especially in women.

And just last week, other researchers reported that many healthy U.S. children and teenagers may be popping vitamins and mineral supplements they don't need, even while children who may actually need the supplements aren't getting them.

However, all these findings, including the latest one, come with a caveat from another expert.

"There are a lot of variables associated with this study, and unless there is an actual randomized, controlled trial, we can't say anything," said Rajat Sethi, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville. "There have been a mixture of studies where vitamins indeed have indirectly shown benefit."

And Andrew Shao, vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, stated, "Multivitamins, like all other dietary supplements, are meant to be used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle; they are not intended to be magic bullets that will assure the prevention of chronic diseases, like cancer... From a practical standpoint, this study does not change the fact that the majority of consumers could benefit from taking an affordable multivitamin, particularly as the majority of Americans fail to consume the recommended amounts of a variety of essential nutrients established by the Institute of Medicine."

According to background information in the study, which was published in the Feb. 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, half of Americans regularly use dietary supplements, to the tune of $20 billion a year.

Many people believe multivitamins will prevent chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Yet "convincing scientific data . . . are lacking," the researchers stated.

Two exceptions are folic acid use in women of childbearing age to prevent neural tube defects in babies, and avoiding beta carotene supplements if you're a smoker.

These researchers looked at 161,808 postmenopausal women participating in the government-sponsored Women's Health Initiative who were followed for about eight years. Some 41.5 percent of participants reported using multivitamins.

There appeared to be no association between multivitamin use and risk of breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung or ovarian cancers; cardiovascular disease; or overall death.

"There was some hint that stress vitamins, which are mostly high doses of B vitamins, may have been protective for some forms of cardiovascular disease," Wassertheil-Smoller said.

And the study does come with other caveats, Wassertheil-Smoller said.

"Most of the women in the study probably did eat a fairly decent diet, meaning we don't yet necessarily know how vitamins affect women eating poorly," she said. "The other thing is we didn't measure other things about diet such as sense of energy and well-being."

Amanda Gardner

More information

Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute has more on different vitamins.



SOURCES: Rajat Sethi, Ph.D., assistant professor, pharmaceutical sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, Kingsville, Texas; Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., professor, epidemiology and population health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition; Feb. 9, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: Feb. 09, 2009

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