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US Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Periodic Updates [Internet]. 3rd edition. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2002-.

  • This publication is provided for historical reference only and the information may be out of date.

This publication is provided for historical reference only and the information may be out of date.

Cover of Guide to Clinical Preventive Services

Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Periodic Updates [Internet]. 3rd edition.

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Discussion

The findings of this review must be placed in context because it focused only on vitamin supplements and their role in preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease. The value of taking vitamin supplements for other purposes, such as folic acid supplementation by women capable of pregnancy to prevent the birth of babies with neural tube defects, has stronger scientific support.

Although the health benefits of vitamin supplementation remain uncertain, there is more consistent evidence that a diet high in fruit, vegetables, and legumes has important benefits; other constituents besides vitamins may account for the benefits of such diets. Furthermore, dietary supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B‐6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B‐12 (alone or in combination) appears to lower plasma homocysteine levels, and higher levels of homocysteine may be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.38 However, definitive evidence of the role of vitamin supplementation on altering cardiovascular outcomes is lacking. The results of a secondary prevention trial will be available within the next few years.

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