Vitamins don’t help with cancer, writes USA Today

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mass media

An article published this week in USA Today highlights recently published science that finds no link between vitamins and cancer or heart disease prevention.

The article – Vitamins get ‘F’ in cancer prevention​ – suggests that such findings leave consumers confused and frustrated at the health benefits of vitamins and the proper communication of these.

A table adjacent to the article lists seven studies published since November 2008 that have found no prevention benefits of vitamins – including vitamins C, E, D, B, folic acid, selenium, beta carotene and calcium – on cancer or heart disease.

To access the article, click here​.

Diet over vitamins

Although the USA Today article did not directly criticize vitamins, it highlighted the difficulty in demonstrating specific benefits, quoting researchers who suggest that diet and exercise are the surest way to maintain health.

“Health-conscious consumers should focus on getting their vitamins from plant foods, such as vegetables and whole grains, which contain precise mixtures of hundreds or even thousands of compounds. Many of these compounds may work better in the combinations selected by nature,”​ the publication quotes Peter Gann of the University of Illinois-Chicago as saying.

An adjacent article also provides a Q&A break-down of which studies consumers should listen to.

It lists the different types of nutrition studies that can be conducted, and states that the strongest studies are randomized clinical trials. To access that article, click here​.

Media harm

Articles appearing on dietary supplements in mainstream media outlets have traditionally had a sharp impact on the industry, as they hold significant sway with consumer opinion in a little-understood and badly-informed area.

Recent articles that have had some harm on the industry include ones published in the New York Times, ABC, New Scientist, and JAMA. To read a summary of these in, click here​.

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