Multivitamins and Harvard
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Stop Aging Now webspace has a posted a very necessary response article to a recent Harvard newsletter that called for men to stop using multi-vitamins due to a possible increased risk for prostate or colorectal cancer.

The assessment of the studies cited in the Harvard Men's Health Watch newsletter are preliminary, and therefore premature. To quote:

"...there is no proof that a daily multi-vitamin is harmful."

And this from the selfsame newsletter that calls for men to cease using multivitamins? There is even fairly contentious disagreement among the Harvard's own professors, as well as a great number of other researchers. The correlation was found in but one study, and that with a population already highly predisposed for prostate cancer. And so what to do with this...

The principle concern seems to be that, due to the addition of folic acid to grain products since the 1990s, many men may be receiving over 1,000 mcg of the supplement, which is not recommended. The Men's Health Watch suggests that instead of taking multivitamins, men considering switching over to Vitamin D supplements.

The Stop Aging post goes on to make several suggestions, all of which point back to the necessity for open doctor-patient discussion concerning use of vitamins and supplements, as was highlighted by the NCCAM's recent Time to Talk initiative. This approach will work to make sure that patients are receiving the necessary additions that vitamins and supplements provide for one's diet, while balancing them with other courses of treatment and prevention.

Overall, the news release this is a very strange development, and the newsletter's recommendation seems ill-advised without further study, as many diets need multivitamin supplements in them in order to receive recommended daily allowances of essential nutrients. "In fact, half the physicians on the Harvard Menís Health Watch advisory board report taking a multivitamin themselves." Here is some further reading for you, and please let us know what you think below:

Multi-Nonsense on Multi-Vitamins

Harvard Press Release

NCCAM's Time to Talk Materials


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