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Multivitamins May Help Reduce Risk Of Cataracts

Cataracts most commonly occur late in life when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, leading to a decrease in vision. A recent study suggests that long-term supplementation with a multivitamin may lower the risk of cataracts by as much as 9%.

Participants in the study included 14,641 male doctors over the age of 50 who took part in a trial known as PHS II from 1997 to 2011. Half of the men took a daily multivitamin along with vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene while the other half took a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, 945 cases of cataracts were reported in the placebo group while only 872 occurred in the multivitamin group, representing a 9% decrease in risk in the multivitamin group.

The researchers also noted that there were 152 new cases of age-related macular degeneration in the multivitamin group and only 129 in the placebo group, a statistically insignificant difference but one that concerned the researchers nonetheless. This suggests different supplements such as lutein or zeaxanthin could be substituted for beta carotene when targeting age-related macular degeneration.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 21, 2013.

Previous studies have shown that multivitamins may aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and boost general physical health. Other studies have also shown that the cells of people who routinely take multivitamins actually have a younger biological age.

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