by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.
The conclusion from the Women’s Initiative Study that multivitamins don’t prevent cancer, heart disease or overall mortality troubles me for some reason.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Women’s Initiative Study. It involves a large group of women (161, 808) followed over a long period (eight years in this instance.) Statisticians analyze the tons of data known about this group and report the findings. The data doesn’t care what I or anyone else thinks. It is what it is.
In the comment section of this report the author cites two other good, long-term women’s studies that showed an association between multivitamins and decreased colon cancer. It took 10 years in one group and 15 years in the other to start seeing a decrease.
But that’s not what bothers me. It’s not the study itself, but that people might get the idea no one needs vitamins. I mean, the New York Times has an article entitled “Vitamins; A False Hope?” This was a study on multivitamins, in set doses. It concluded nothing about set groups of individuals needing specific vitamins at other dosages.