Originally published March 11 2014
Daily vitamin intake can reduce risk of cataracts in men
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) There has been no shortage of "experts" and naysayers in recent months downplaying the health benefits of dietary supplementation, but time and again science proves them wrong.
New research by scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School has found that long-term daily use of multivitamin supplements can work to reduce the risk of men developing cataracts.
A research team led by Dr. William Christen of Harvard Medical School, which published its findings in the journal Opthalmology, said current study results mimic previous research indicating that vitamin supplementation is helpful in boosting eye health, though the team admitted that there is little information regarding the link between long-term multivitamin use and the risk of developing eye diseases.
As reported by Medical News Today (MNT), Christen's team analyzed data from 12,641 male doctors from the United States aged 50 years or older. All of the men were part of the Physician's Health Study II (PHS II) and were assessed from 1997 to 2011:
Half of the men were randomly assigned to receive a common daily multivitamin, alongside vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene supplements, while the other half of the participants took a placebo. Vitamins were given to participants at doses in line with US dietary allowance recommendations.
'Even 10 percent is significant'
The scientists followed the men over an average span of 11.2 years to find out how many in each group contracted new cases of cataract or age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye that can cause blurred vision, while AMD is defined as the deterioration of the macula -- the part of the eye responsible for sharpness of vision, MNT reported.
According to a PRNewswire press release, the results of the study found that, in the group of participants given a placebo, there were 945 new cases of cataract reported. But the group receiving the daily multivitamin reported only 872 new cases of cataract, or a 9 percent risk reduction for the condition. But there were additional findings:
This risk was even lower, at 13 percent, for nuclear cataract, which occurs at the center of the lens and is the most common variety of cataract associated with the aging process. Given that an estimated 10 million adults in the United States have impaired vision due to cataract, even a modest reduction in risk of cataract has potential to improve public health outcomes.
More research is needed
"If multivitamins really do reduce the risk of cataract, even by a modest 10 percent, this rather small reduction would nonetheless have a large public health impact," said Christen.
Researchers also found that, in the multivitamin group, there were 152 new cases of visually significant AMD (which is defined as best-corrected visual acuity of 20/30 or worse), versus 129 new cases in the placebo group.
The scientists said that their findings for AMD risk were not that statistically significant. They also said that, though their findings contradict earlier studies indicating that supplement use may reduce the risk of AMD, different supplements, doses and objectives were applied in their study, which could help explain the disparity.
Christen says that further examination and research into multivitamin supplementation and eye disease is still necessary.
"This finding of more cases of AMD in the multivitamin group than in the placebo group, although not statistically significant, does raise some concerns," he said. "Clearly, this finding needs to be examined further in other trials of multivitamin supplements in both men and women."
Recent reports have completely downplayed any and all supplementation as a worthless waste of money -- but, as noted by Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, the "findings" were pulled from an editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which is a pro-Big Pharma source "almost entirely funded by pharmaceuticals which compete with multivitamins."
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