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Multi-vitamins might help lower the risk for cancer in healthy older men but do not affect their chances of developing heart disease, new research suggests.
Two other studies found fish oil did not work for an irregular heartbeat condition called atrial fibrillation, even though it is thought to help certain people with heart disease or high levels of fats called triglycerides in their blood.
The bottom line: Dietary supplements have varied effects and whether one is right for you may depend on your personal health profile, diet and lifestyle.
“Many people take vitamin supplements as a crutch,” says study leader Dr Howard Sesso, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“They’re no substitute for a heart-healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, keeping your weight down”, especially for lowering heart risks.
His study involved nearly 15,000 healthy male doctors given monthly packets of Pfizer’s Centrum Silver or fake multi-vitamins.
After about 11 years, there were no differences between the groups in heart attacks, strokes, chest pain, heart failure or heart-related deaths.
Though multi-vitamins supplements are used by about one-third of adult Americans, no government agency recommends their routine use for preventing chronic diseases.
The studies were presented at an American Heart Association conference in Los Angeles.