An Iowa State University professor is one of the members of a National Institutes of Health panel that recently released findings using vitamins. Diane Birt says they were trying to sort through all the studies on the use of vitamins to determine if single vitamins or a combination of vitamins could help prevent chronic disease.
Birt says none of the research proved vitamins can prevent things such as cancer. She says they found very little evidence that single vitamins are small combinations are helping prevent chronic diseases.
Birt says there are some combinations of vitamins and supplements that seem to work. She says Vitamin D and calcium seem to work in building bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis and bone breaks in the elderly. Birt says the panel did not look at vitamin deficiencies, because she says there are only pockets of areas where people aren’t getting enough vitamins.
In fact, Birt says with all the vitamin-enriched food available, getting too many vitamins might be a bigger problem. Birt says a good example are breakfast cereals, which she says have a lot of added vitamins. Birt says if you eat fortified breakfast cereal, have a good diet and take vitamin supplements, you may be getting too many vitamins. Birt says the overall conclusion leads her to recommend that people take vitamins based on their individual situation and diets.
Birt says there’s not data that says taking multi-vitamins will help, but there’s also not data that says you should stop taking vitamins. Birt says if you find taking certain vitamins makes you feel better, than she says you should keep taking them.