Can Cocoa Extract and a Multivitamin Help Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 3, 2016

The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) is the most extensive study to date testing the roles of cocoa extract and a multivitamin in improving health.

Contributor: Dr. JoAnn Manson is Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). She is leading the COSMOS trial with BWH Dr. Howard Sesso, an associate epidemiologist at BWH.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are collaborating in a new research study, known as the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), for the most extensive study to date testing the roles of cocoa extract and a multivitamin in improving health, including preventing heart disease and cancer.

Previous studies of cocoa flavanols conducted by researchers at BWH and other institutions have found that cocoa may reduce the risk of heart disease (including a short-term decrease in blood pressure), as well as slow age-related cognitive decline. BWH researchers have also previously found that multivitamin use modestly reduced cancer risk in a trial of more than 14,000 male physicians.

“COSMOS will allow us to further explore these promising nutritional supplements in both men and women as part of a large-scale national clinical trial,” said Dr. JoAnn Manson, Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH and Co-Director of COSMOS with BWH epidemiologist Dr. Howard Sesso.

Read More »

Multivitamins May Reduce Risk of Cancer, Not Heart Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 27, 2012

One of these may reduce your risk of cancer - but not heart disease.

Recently, we published the results from the first large-scale clinical trial to evaluate the long-term effects of multivitamins for men. When it comes to cancer researchers found that taking a daily multivitamin modestly but significantly reduced the risk of developing cancer and possibly reduced cancer-related deaths among men over 50; however, they also found that multivitamins did not appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in the same group of men.

“The findings from our large clinical trial do not support the use of a common daily multivitamin supplement for the sole purpose of preventing cardiovascular disease in men,” said Dr. Howard D. Sesso, lead author and an associate epidemiologist in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH. “The decision to take a daily multivitamin should be made in consultation with one’s doctor and consideration given to an individual’s nutritional status and other potential effects of multivitamins, including our previously reported modest but significant reduction in cancer risk.”

Read More »