Multivitamins Research Review

  • There’s some evidence for taking folic acid for the prevention of heart disease and stroke, and also for taking B-complex vitamins that include folic acid for stroke.
  • As there was no reduction in early death from taking supplements, it does not work against poor dietary habits.
  • Taking supplements is very different from eating whole foods. The latter rarely causes complications and the former may lead to the consumer missing out on healthy phytonutrients found in the former.

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Health

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • In studies testing the four common supplements of multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C, there was no reduction in the incidence of heart disease, stroke or premature death.
  • Folic acid supplements showed a reduction in heart disease and stroke. But high levels of folic acid in the blood may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Among those taking statin medication to lower blood cholesterol, slow or extended release vitamin B3 (niacin) increased the risk of early death by 10%.
  • Antioxidant supplements also had a marginally significant increase of early that risk.

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RELATED IDEAS

Supplements don't replace a healthy diet

Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet.

And they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits.

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IDEAS

  • Folic acid for the women thinking of having a baby and pregnant women up to week 12 of the pregnancy.
  • Vitamin D for all pregnant and breastfeeding women, those aged six months to five years or over 65 and for people who are not exposed to much sun.
  • Vitamins A, C and D supplementation are recommended for all children aged six months to four years, especially those not eating a varied diet.
  • If they are prescribed to you for a medical condition.

Back when undernutrition and vitamin deficiencies were widespread, supplements made some sense. But now one of the more urgent health problems is obesity and overnutrition while a growing body of studies shows that supplements’ effects are minimal or negative. 

Remember that you can’t know for sure what's really in your supplement bottle. And that the pills probably won't make you any healthier (unless you have a medically diagnosed deficiency). And they might even be hurting you.

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