ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Blueberry Drink Protects Mice From Obesity, Diabetes
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Deployment Takes Toll on Army Wives
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
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
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Add your Article

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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