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Do vitamins stop cancerAccording to The Los Angeles Times  will taking multivitamins protect you from dying of cancer or heart disease? The answer is no, according to new research.

In a study of more than 180,000 people, scientists saw the same number of deaths from cancer and heart disease among multivitamin-takers and those who did not take the supplements.

“People need to understand that just taking these multivitamins is not sufficient to prevent disease,” said Jennifer Hsiang-Ling Lin, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who did not work on the study.

Multiple past studies have shown no link between multivitamins and reduced risk of cancer or heart disease. Other recent research couldn’t prove that multivitamins protect against diabetes, either.

Some small studies in the past have shown that specific vitamins, not multivitamins, may be protective against heart disease or cancer later in life. However these studies looked at undernourished people, not generally healthy adults like the U.S. population, said co-author Song-Yi Park, assistant professor of epidemiology at University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Honolulu.

On its web site, the U.S. National Institutes of Health advise that doctors should prescribe multivitamins only “for patients who need extra vitamins, who cannot eat enough food to obtain the required vitamins, or who cannot receive the full benefit of the vitamins contained in the food they eat.”

But more than half of U.S. adults choose to take multivitamins, according to Lin.

Many Americans take vitamins on a daily basis. Prior to plastic surgery procedures patients are instructed to reveal every medication that they take on a regular basis. Dr. O’Toole explains to  his patients that certain vitamins must be discontinued prior to surgery. These include but are not limited to fish oil and vitamin E. In some cases, after breast augmentation Dr. O’Toole may recommend patients take vitamin E. This should not be done without his specific instruction.


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