Choosing Wisely:

Don’t take a multi-vitamin, vitamin E, or beta-carotene to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Rationale and Comments: Vitamin supplementation is a multi-billion dollar industry ($28.1 billion in 2010) in the United States, much of which is taken with the intention to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer. However, there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate benefit from multivitamin supplementation to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer. Adequate evidence demonstrates that supplementation with vitamin E and beta-carotene in healthy populations specifically has no benefit on cardiovascular disease or cancer. Beta-carotene is also associated with increased risks of lung cancer in smokers and people who have been exposed to asbestos.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American College of Preventive Medicine
  • Sources:
  • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
  • Disciplines:
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Oncologic
  • Cardiovascular
  • References: • Nutrition Business Journal. NBJ’s supplement business report: an analysis of markets, trends, competition and strategy in the U.S. dietary supplement industry. New York, NY: 2011.
    • Moyer; U.S Preventive Services Task Force. Vitamin, mineral, and multivitamin supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(8):558-64.

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