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Cancer experts said the results need to be confirmed by another study before recommending multivitamins to the public. These participants were healthier _ only 4 percent smoked, for example.

For people who do want to take multivitamins, doctors suggest:

_Be aware that they are dietary supplements, which do not get the strict testing required of prescription medicines.

_Ask your doctor before taking any. Vitamin K can interfere with common heart medicines and blood thinners, and vitamins C and E can lower the effectiveness of some types of chemotherapy. For people having surgery, some vitamins affect bleeding and response to anesthesia.

_Current and former smokers should avoid multivitamins with lots of beta-carotene or vitamin A; two studies have tied them to increased risk of lung cancer.

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Online:

JAMA: http://www.jama.ama-assn.org

Vitamin facts: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants

and http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-HealthProfessional

Dietary advice: http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov

Task force advice: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsvita.htm

Vitamin E and prostate study: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/14/1549

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP