A study funded by the US government and administrated by Women's Health Inititative effort attempted to figure out if daily use of multivatimins would combat heart disease, bone health and cancer. The study was done over a period of 8 years. Data was collected from 40 doctors around the US on multivatamin usage. The study had 161,808 participants in the trial. The trial participants were women experiencing menopause.
Past multivatamin studies showed that there may have been a potiential benefit from taking a multivitamin daily. These trials were small and less rigorous than the current trial. Previous large and rigor trials showed getting vitamins and nutrients through fruit and vegetables does combat heart disease, helps fight cancer and improves your general health.
This trial showed no benefit in taking a multivatamin. The multivatamin did not help with heart disease, bone health or fight cancer in menopausal women. Women who took stress vitamins that had higher doses of vitamin B and vitamin C did show a reduction of a heart attack by 25%. However, this was a small group of 3,741 women. This is certainly not conclusive evidence about stress vitamins.
There were not any reported harmful side effects with the vitamins. The doctors found the multivitamins not too be harmful in any way to the body. The doctors also did not recommend people to stop taking multivatamins.
The research confirms that people can not skip eating fruits and vegetables. Many people take multivatamins so they do not have to eat fruits and vegetables. People can continue take their multivitamins but they also should eat many servings of fruits and vegetables per day in their diet if they want to remain healthy
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Multivitamin Use and Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in the Women's Health Initiative Cohorts
Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(3):294-304.