The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) will not recommend that consuming supplements can prevent cancer and heart disease, and will warn that doing so can actually increase your heart disease and cancer risk, according to a draft comment posted on its website.
The USPSTF has given most supplements an “I” rating—for an insufficient amount of evidence—in connection to preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer. But, using strong scientific research, the group will warn against consuming beta-carotene supplements.
“The evidence reveals there are no benefits to vitamin E and that in fact, beta-carotene might be harmful because it raises your risk of getting lung cancer in people who are already at risk, and also increases your risk of dying from stroke or heart disease,” says John Wong, MD, of Tufts Medical Center.
The group’s new research of 78 previous studies found that no supplement had a great effect on heart health. Data concerning vitamin D and cancer mortality was not consistent.
The scientists said that more research was warranted. “More evidence is required to understand whether this is heterogeneity among certain populations, or by foundational nutrient level, in the effects of mineral, vitamin, and multivitamin supplements on cancer and heart disease outcomes, especially in people with no deficiencies and in diverse groups,” the researchers wrote.
Based on the newest evidence, the USPSTF does not recommend regular vitamin D screening for adults without symptoms.
Other new studies back it up
The USPSTF’s comment comes after a 2019 meta-analysis in which scientists from Johns Hopkins looked at studies involving 450,000 individuals, determining that supplements do not lower your risk of heart illness, cancer, heart attack or stroke, or cognitive decline. Their advice was: Do not waste your money on multivitamins; get the stuff you need from food.
“Pills are not a magic solution to getting better health and preventing illness,” said Dr. Larry Appel, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Research said. “More recommendations have much better evidence of helpfulness—like eating a good diet, keeping a healthy body weight, and lowering the amount of trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar you consume.”
Author: Scott Dowdy