USPSTF mostly neutral on supplements in draft statement

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) took a broader look at vitamin and mineral supplements to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer and appeared to be unswayed in a draft recommendation statement.

The task force said it found inadequate evidence to determine the benefits from taking supplemental multivitamins and individual or paired vitamins and minerals. It concluded that vitamin E offered no benefit while beta-carotene carried a net harm.

In 2003, the USPSTF found the evidence insufficient to recommend for or against the use of supplements of vitamins A, C, or E; multivitamins with folic acid; or antioxidant combinations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer. At that time it also recommended against the use of beta-carotene supplements, either alone or in combination. The updated recommendation includes evidence on additional nutrient supplements, including vitamin D, calcium, selenium and folic acid.

“New evidence on the use of vitamin E increased the USPSTF's certainty about its lack of effectiveness in preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer,” the task force wrote.

The public can comment on the draft recommendation statement until Dec. 9.