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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Mar 15;177(6):548-55. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws279. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

High-dose supplements of vitamins C and E, low-dose multivitamins, and the risk of age-related cataract: a population-based prospective cohort study of men.

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Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


We examined the associations of high-dose supplements of vitamins C and E and low-dose multivitamins with the risk of age-related cataract among 31,120 Swedish men, aged 45-79 years, in a population-based prospective cohort. Dietary supplement use was assessed from a questionnaire at baseline in 1998. During follow-up (January 1998-December 2006), 2,963 incident age-related cataract cases were identified. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio for men using vitamin C supplements only was 1.21 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.41) in a comparison with that of non-supplement users. The hazard ratio for long-term vitamin C users (≥10 years before baseline) was 1.36 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.81). The risk of cataract with vitamin C use was stronger among older men (>65 years) (hazard ratio = 1.92, 95% CI: 1.41, 2.60) and corticosteroid users (hazard ratio = 2.11, 95% CI: 1.48, 3.02). The hazard ratio for vitamin E use only was 1.59 (95% CI: 1.12, 2.26). Use of multivitamins only or multiple supplements in addition to vitamin C or E was not associated with cataract risk. These results suggest that the use of high-dose (but not low-dose) single vitamin C or E supplements may increase the risk of age-related cataract. The risk may be even higher among older men, corticosteroid users, and long-term users.

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