NIH weighs efficacy of multivitamins, minerals

May 30, 2006

An independent panel convened by the NIH Office of MedicalApplications of Research and the Office of Dietary Supplements hasassessed the available evidence of multivitamin/minerals (MVMs) andmade recommendations regarding certain supplements. The panel'srecommendations include the following: the combined use of calciumand vitamin D protects the bone health of postmenopausal women;antioxidants and zinc help nonsmoking adults with early-stage,age-related macular degeneration; and women of childbearing ageshould take folate daily.

An independent panel convened by the NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research and the Office of Dietary Supplements has assessed the available evidence of multivitamin/minerals (MVMs) and made recommendations regarding certain supplements. The panel's recommendations include the following: the combined use of calcium and vitamin D protects the bone health of postmenopausal women; antioxidants and zinc help nonsmoking adults with early-stage, age-related macular degeneration; and women of childbearing age should take folate daily. The panel ultimately concluded that more rigorous scientific research is needed before strong recommendations can be made regarding MVM use to prevent chronic diseases. A draft statement is available at http://consensus.nih.gov/. The final version will be available at the same Web site in four to six weeks.

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