Is there really any benefits to multivitamins
Half of American adults, including 70 percent of 65 and their holder, regularly consume a multivitamin or other vitamin or mineral supplement. The total price tag is more than $12 billion annually— money that Johns Hopkins experts say might be better spent on nutrient-packed foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free milk products.
Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed evidence of supplements in an editorial entitled “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”
A research analysis involving 450,000 people found that multivitamins did not reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer.
A 12-year study following mental functioning and the use of 5,947 men showed that multivitamins did not reduce the risk of mental loss or slow-down thinking, such as memory loss.
A study of 1708 heart attack survivors who took up to 55 months of high-dose multivitamin or placebo. There were similar rates of later heart attack, heart surgery, and death in both groups.
The verdict of vitamins
Researchers concluded that the risks of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline (like memory and slow-down thinking) or early death are not reduced by multivitamins. They also found that vitamin E and beta-carotene
supplements, especially at high doses, seem to be dangerous in previous studies.
“Pills are not a shortcut to improving health and preventing chronic conditions,” says Larry Appel, MD, head of the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Research and the Center for Prevention, Epidemiology. “Another nutrition recommendation provides much more evidence of benefits— eating a healthy diet, maintaining healthy weights, and reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and sugar you eat.”
“Folic acid prevents defects in the neural tube of babies when women take it prior to or during early pregnancy.
This is why multivitamins for young women are recommended. “Centers for the Control and Prevention of Diseases recommend that all reproductive women receive 400 microgram folic acid per day. The amount of iron in a multivitamin may also benefit women with child-caring potential, adds Appel.
“I do not recommend additional supplements,” says Appel. “If you follow a healthy diet, you will be able to obtain all the necessary vitamins and minerals from food.
What The Experts do:
Healthy foods instead of supplements
“I don’t routinely use any supplements,” said Larry Appel, MD, Center Director, Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. “I’m trying to eat three healthy dishes a day to get the necessary vitamins, mine and nutrients.”
Plenty of produce. “I’m trying to get two or more portions of fruit or vegetables for each meal,” he says. “I have salads and have lunch or dinner several times a week.”
Low-fat dairy and whole grains. ‘Low fat or fat-free milk and yogurt supply calcium, magnesium, potassium and other nutrients,he says.I have milk and breakfast cereals a few times a week and sometimes yogurt as well.
Protein. “We usually have home food for fish or chicken. I’m not a vegetarian ; I’m eating minimal meat instead,”
Appel said. Some fish like salmon are a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole grain: Grains such as wheat, brown rice and barley still have a fiber-rich outer shell, known as bran and inner germ. It provides good vitamins, minerals and fats. Selecting whole-grain side meals, cereal, bread, and more can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, as well as improve digestion.
Saturated fat: A fat type found in the richness of butter, whole milk, ice cream, fat cheese, fatty meats, poultry skin, palm and coconut oils. Saturated fat increases your LDL heart-threatening cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. It can also impair the ability of your body to absorb blood sugar easily. Limiting saturated fat can help manage your risk of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids (oh-may-ga three fah-tee a-sids): Healthy polyunsaturated fats that the body uses to build brain cell membranes. You are considered essential fats because our body needs them and can not produce them alone; we need food or supplements to take them in. A diet rich in omega 3, found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil and low in fat saturates can help protect it against heart disease, bowel disease, stroke, and cancer.