Multivitamins Show No Protective Benefits Against Macular Degeneration

Published Online: Friday, January 17, 2014
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Although taking daily multivitamins may have some health benefits, a recent study suggests that long-term use of supplements does not reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration.

The double-blind trial assigned a total of 14,641 male physicians 50 years and older to receive a daily multivitamin or placebo for an average follow-up of 11.2 years. Participants reported cataracts and visually significant macular degeneration responsible for a reduction in best corrected visual acuity to 20/30 or worse. Self-reports were then confirmed through medical records. The results of the study were published online on November 21, 2013, in Ophthalmology.

Throughout the trial, a total of 1817 cataract cases and 281 cases of visually significant macular degeneration were reported and confirmed. The results indicated that multivitamin use significantly reduced the risk of cataracts but did nothing to decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration. Among patients who developed macular degeneration, 152 were taking multivitamins and 129 were taking a placebo.

The authors concluded that the large trial suggests that long-term, daily multivitamin supplementation does not have any protective benefits against age-related macular degeneration in middle-aged men.

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