MULTIVITAMINS: DO THER RE­ALLY HELP

YOU MIGHT THINK ABOUT TAK­ING SOME MULTI VI­TA­MINS FOR A QUICK HEALTH BOOST. BUT RE­SEARCH SAYS THEY’RE NOT AS USE­FUL AS YOU THINK.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - FRONT PAGE -

VVi­ta­mins and sup­ple­ments can of­ten give your body a boost if you’re lack­ing in cer­tain ar­eas. But how effective can multivitamins be? By now you know that real foods — and the real vi­ta­mins and min­er­als in them — are bet­ter at pro­tect­ing your health than ex­tracted nu­tri­ents that come in the form of a bot­tled mul­tivi­ta­min.

Now, a new re­view of re­search that col­lected data from two mil­lion peo­ple con­firms it yet again: Tak­ing a mul­tivi­ta­min doesn’t pro­tect you from heart dis­ease, heart at­tacks, stroke, or death, the Johns Hop­kins re­searchers found.

Tons of other re­search backs up the find­ing, in­clud­ing a study from Brigham and Women’s Hos­pi­tal in Bos­ton of 14,000 men that found a daily mul­tivi­ta­min did squat to pro­tect against heart dis­ease.

Of course, we’ve been telling you this for years. So has the re­search it­self. There’s ba­si­cally no solid ev­i­dence that tak­ing a mul­tivi­ta­min low­ers your risk of chronic dis­eases or pro­tects your health in any way (as­sum­ing you don’t have true vi­ta­min de­fi­ciency, that is). Even the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion doesn’t rec­om­mend tak­ing ‘em.

But still, about 30 per­cent of Amer­i­cans do — di­etary sup­ple­ments are a $30 mil­lion in­dus­try in the U.S.

“I think peo­ple do it be­cause they think they are be­ing healthy,” says Erin Mi­chos, M.D., the new study’s lead au­thor and an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of medicine at The Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal. “But there re­ally can be too much of a good thing. More is not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter.”

Case in point: Be­cause multivitamins aren’t reg­u­lated by the U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA), some re­search finds nearly 50 per­cent of multivitamins don’t even con­tain what they say they do. That’s con­cern­ing, be­cause your body can’t flush out ex­cess amounts of cer­tain nu­tri­ents, in­clud­ing vi­ta­mins A, De, E, and K. That means they can wind up stored in your liver, where they can po­ten­tially cause health is­sues.

“There is no ‘pill’ that can re­place a nu­tri­tious bal­anced diet that is rich in fruits and veg­eta­bles and a healthy life­style that in­cludes reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity,” Mi­chos says.

A vi­ta­min pro­cessed into pill likely also doesn’t have the same health ben­e­fits as vi­ta­mins and min­er­als found nat­u­rally in foods and eaten along­side other nu­tri­ents, she adds.

And the good news? If you’re eat­ing a diet packed with lean pro­teins, whole grains, fruits, and veg­eta­bles, you’re likely fill­ing up on all of the vi­ta­mins and min­er­als you need. (Ex­am­ple: Most grown men need 120 mi­cro­grams of vi­ta­min K a day and a cup of raw spinach of­fers it.)

If you think you have a true vi­ta­min de­fi­ciency — maybe you avoid the sun like the plague and don’t eat fish, or you have a very re­stric­tive diet — see your doc be­fore you buy into a sup­ple­ment. A blood test can re­veal if you’re truly de­fi­cient, and then you can con­sider a vi­ta­min.

But Mi­chos notes that even then, the re­search is mixed. For ex­am­ple: “There might be a ben­e­fit of vi­ta­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion for those with a doc­u­mented de­fi­ciency, how­ever more data is needed.” To date, she says there aren’t any ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als that show vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments re­duce the risk of heart dis­ease.

THERE’S BA­SI­CALLY NO SOLID EV­I­DENCE THAT TAK­ING A MUL­TIVI­TA­MIN LOW­ERS YOUR RISK OF CHRONIC DIS­EASES OR PRO­TECTS YOUR HEALTH IN ANY WAY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.