ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
EYE CARE, VISION
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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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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