High-dose B-vitamin supplements and risk for age-related cataract: a population-based prospective study of men and women

Br J Nutr. 2017 Jul;118(2):154-160. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517001994.


Previous studies that have investigated the association between B-vitamin supplement use and risk for cataract yield conflicting results. The aim of this study was to examine the association between use of high-dose B-vitamin supplements (approximately 10 times recommended daily intake) and risk for age-related cataract in a population-based prospective study of 13 757 women from the Swedish Mammography Cohort and 22 823 men from the Cohort of Swedish Men. Dietary supplement use and potential confounders were assessed using a questionnaire at baseline. Information on cataract diagnosis and extraction was obtained through linkage to registers. During the follow-up period between January 1998 and December 2011, we identified 8395 cataract cases (3851 for women and 4544 for men). The use of B vitamins plus other supplements and B vitamins only was associated with 9 % (95 % CI 2, 17) and 27 % (95 % CI 12, 43) increased risk for cataract, respectively. The hazard ratios for use of B vitamins only and risk for cataract stratified by different age groups were as follows: <60 years: 1·88 (95 % CI 1·47, 2·39); 60-69 years: 1·21 (95 % CI 0·96, 1·53); and ≥70 years: 1·09 (95 % CI 0·91, 1·31) (P interaction=0·002). Our results suggest that the use of high-dose B-vitamin supplements was associated with an increased risk for cataract. This association might be confined to younger participants.

Keywords: HR hazard ratio RCT randomised clinical trial RDI recommended daily intake; B-vitamin supplements; Cataracts; Nutritional epidemiology; Prospective cohort studies.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Cataract / chemically induced*
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B Complex / adverse effects*


  • Vitamin B Complex