Popping a multivitamin daily can keep disease at bay
- By: Deborah Josefson
Nearly all adult Americans have dietary deficiencies in one or more vitamins and should be taking multivitamin supplements, a new paper has asserted (JAMA 2002;287:3116-29).
Drs Robert Fletcher and Kathleen Fairfield of the Harvard Medical School's departments of public health, ambulatory medicine, and epidemiology, reached these conclusions after reviewing the literature on vitamins, nutritional supplements, toxicities, and disease states. They recommend that all adults take one multivitamin pill daily and that elderly people take two multivitamin pills as they are more susceptible to vitamin deficiencies.
The authors searched the Medline database for articles and randomised trials involving vitamins published from 1966 to January 2002.
Nine vitamins were selected for review: folic acid, vitamins B-6 and B-12, vitamin D, vitamin E, the provitamin A carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Additionally, the carotenoid lycopene was included in the review because of evidence that it might help to prevent prostate