The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against the use of beta-carotene or vitamin E supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to a recommendation statement being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers conducted a systematic review of the evidence to assess the benefits and harms of using vitamin, mineral, and multivitamin supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The evidence suggests that beta-carotene increases risk for lung cancer in people at risk for the disease. New evidence on the use of vitamin E proves that it lacks effectiveness in preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Evidence was insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of the use of multivitamins or single- or paired-nutrient supplements (with the exception of beta-carotene and vitamin E) for preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.
About half of U.S. adults report using at least one dietary supplement and about one-third report using a multivitamin-multimineral supplement. Appropriate intake of vitamin and mineral nutrients is essential to overall health. The benefits of vitamin supplementation are uncertain, so it is recommended that Americans get most of their nutrients from foods. Eating a nutrient-rich diet comprised of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood should provide adequate nutrition. However, there may be specific groups of patients with well-defined conditions for whom specific nutrients will provide benefits. The focus of the recommendation is healthy adults without special nutritional needs. This is an update to the USPSTF's 2003 recommendation.