Harvard Men's Health Watch

Do multivitamins protect you from disease?

Many people take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement expecting to feel better and prevent disease. The evidence for doing this is weak. Research also suggests that taking more than the minimum of vitamins and minerals you need doesn't prevent disease and may actually be harmful. The Harvard Physicians Health Study II found that taking a multivitamin for about a decade reduced the risk of being diagnosed with cancer by 8% compared to not taking the multivitamin, but had no effect on heart disease. A better strategy for prevention is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits. Food contains other nutrients besides the basic vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin.
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