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Am Fam Physician. 2022;106(5):565-566

Related USPSTF Clinical Summary: Vitamin, Mineral, and Multivitamin Supplementation to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Case Study

A 53-year-old patient, J.B., with no significant medical history presents for a wellness visit. J.B.’s father had a stroke at 65 years of age, and J.B.’s older brother was diagnosed with colon cancer at 60 years of age. The patient has an estimated 10-year cardiovascular risk of 3.4% and a body mass index of 29 kg per m2. The rest of their history and physical examination is unremarkable.

Case Study Questions

1. J.B. says that a friend recommended taking a supplement to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. Based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement, which one of the following supplement recommendations for prevention of CVD and cancer is correct?

  • A. Recommend beta carotene because the benefits outweigh the harms.

  • B. Recommend vitamin E because the benefits outweigh the harms.

  • C. Recommend a multivitamin because there is convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh the harms.

  • D. Recommend beta carotene and vitamin E because both supplements have strong evidence of benefit.

  • E. Do not recommend beta carotene, vitamin E, or a multivitamin because evidence shows net harm for taking beta carotene, no net benefit of taking vitamin E, and insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of multivitamin supplements.

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This series is coordinated by Joanna Drowos, DO, contributing editor.

A collection of Putting Prevention Into Practice published in AFP is available at

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