April 20, 2024

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Researchers: Don’t waste money on vitamins and supplements

Researchers: Don’t waste money on vitamins and supplements


Researchers: Don’t waste money on vitamins and supplements.

Americans are expected to spend nearly $50 billion on vitamins and dietary supplements in 2021.

But scientists from Northwestern Medical University point out that for non-pregnant, otherwise healthy Americans, vitamins are a waste because there isn’t enough evidence that they help prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.



Researchers: Don't waste money on vitamins and supplements.


“Patients keep asking, ‘What supplements should I take?’ They’re wasting money and energy thinking there must be a magic pill Keep them healthy and we should all follow evidence-based practices of eating healthy and exercising.”


Linder and Northwestern Medicine scientists wrote an editorial and published it in JAMA on June 21, local time.


Based on a systematic review of 84 studies, new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) state that there is not “sufficient evidence” that taking a multivitamin, paired supplement, or single supplement can help prevent otherwise healthy, non-pregnant women Cardiovascular disease and cancer in adults.


“The task force isn’t saying ‘don’t take multivitamins,’ but there’s this idea that if these things are actually good for you then we’ll know by now,” Linder said.


The task force specifically advises against taking beta-carotene supplements — which may increase the risk of lung cancer — and also recommends against taking vitamin E supplements because it has no net benefit in reducing mortality, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.


“The danger is that in the limited time we see patients talking about supplements, we miss out on counseling about how to actually reduce cardiovascular risk, such as through exercise or smoking cessation,” Linder noted.




$50 billion: Americans will spend nearly $50 billion on vitamins and dietary supplements in 2021.


More than half of Americans take vitamins. Why?


More than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, and supplement use is expected to increase, Linder and his colleagues wrote in an editorial in JAMA.


Eating fruits and vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, they say, so it stands to reason that key vitamins and minerals could be extracted from fruits and vegetables and packaged in pills, saving people the need to maintain a balanced diet. hassle and expense.

But they point out that whole fruits and vegetables contain a mix of vitamins, phytochemicals, fiber and other nutrients that may work synergistically to provide health benefits.

The role of isolated micronutrients in the body may be different than when they are naturally packaged with a range of other dietary components.


Linder points out that people who are deficient in vitamins can still benefit from dietary supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D, which have been shown to prevent fractures and possible falls in older adults.



New guidelines don’t apply to pregnant women

The new USPSTF guidelines do not apply to people who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, said JAMA editorial co-author Dr. Natalie Cameron, Lecturer in General Internal Medicine at Feinberg University.


“People who are pregnant should remember that these guidelines do not apply to them,” Cameron said. “Certain vitamins, such as folic acid, are essential for pregnant women to help support healthy fetal development. The most common forms of meeting these needs are The approach is to take prenatal vitamins.

More data are needed to understand how specific vitamin supplementation modifies adverse pregnancy outcomes and the risk of cardiovascular complications during pregnancy.”


In addition, recent research from Northwestern University found that the majority of women in the United States had poor heart health prior to pregnancy.

In addition to discussing vitamin supplementation, working with patients before conception to optimize cardiovascular health is an important part of prenatal care, Cameron said.




Eating healthy and exercising is ‘easier said than done’

Healthy eating can be a challenge when America’s industrialized food system doesn’t prioritize health, said Jenny Jia, Ph.


“Eating a healthy diet and getting more exercise is easier said than done, especially among low-income Americans,” Jia said. “Healthy food is expensive, and people don’t always have a way to find exercise. environment — maybe it’s unsafe outdoors or they can’t afford the facilities. So what can we do to try to make it easier and help support healthier decisions?”


For the past few years, Jia has been working with charitable food pantries and banks that provide free food to those in need in an attempt to help customers pick healthier options from the pantry and educate those who donate to provide healthier options or money.





Researchers: Don’t waste money on vitamins and supplements

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