Vitamins, supplements are a ‘waste of money’ for most Americans

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Scientists from Northwestern University suggest that for non-pregnant, healthy Americans, vitamins are a waste of money because there isn’t enough evidence they help prevent heart disease or cancer.

The article is published in JAMA and was written by Dr. Jeffrey Linder et al.

The paper supports new recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Based on a systematic review of 84 studies, the USPSTF’s new guidelines state there was “insufficient evidence” that taking multivitamins, paired supplements or single supplements can help prevent heart disease and cancer in healthy, non-pregnant adults.

The task force is specifically recommending against taking beta-carotene supplements because of a possible increased risk of lung cancer.

It is recommended against taking vitamin E supplements because it has no net benefit in reducing death risk, heart disease or cancer.

More than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, and the use of supplements is projected to increase.

Eating fruits and vegetables is linked to decreased heart disease and cancer risk, so it is reasonable to think key vitamins and minerals could be extracted from fruits and vegetables, packaged into a pill, and save people the trouble and expense of maintaining a balanced diet.

But whole fruits and vegetables contain a mixture of vitamins, phytochemicals, fiber and other nutrients that probably act synergistically to deliver health benefits.

Micronutrients in isolation may act differently in the body than when naturally packaged with a host of other dietary components.

The team noted individuals who have a vitamin deficiency can still benefit from taking dietary supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D, which have been shown to prevent fractures and maybe falls in older adults.

The new USPSTF guidelines do not apply to people who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies that plant-based diet could prevent high blood pressure effectively, and this dieting method can effectively reduce inflammation.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about foods that could sharp your brain, and results showing cooking food in this way may raise your risk of blindness.

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