Don’t Stop Taking Your Multivitamin – Read This First
You Docs on multivitamin supplements
Dump your multi vitamin and mineral supplements? Don’t throw those babies out with the bathwater! We’re still taking ours, despite some new studies bashing multivitamin benefits. And we’re also ignoring headlines such as “Multivitamins a waste of money” and “Your multivitamins aren’t doing a d**n thing” – and we think you should, too.
We’re convinced that some vitamin supplements have plenty of health-protecting benefits. Especially if you’re over 50, munch a less- than-perfect diet, are a woman of reproductive age, or are among the tens of millions of Americans who take nutrient-zapping drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes or to tame stomach acid. That’s a lot of folks. So why the opposition to multivites?
What Do the Studies Say?
One meta-study conducted for the US Preventive Services Task Force looked at 27 supplement studies involving more than 400 000 people. It found no benefit for longevity, cancer prevention or heart health in people without nutrient deficiencies.
The second followed 5 947 guys for 12 years and found that multivitamins didn’t sharpen thinking or memory in men who ate healthy diets. The third tracked more than 1 700 heart-attack survivors. And again, found no heart-health benefits for those who took a multivitamin. But plenty of people dropped out of that study.
All three studies appeared in the same issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The editors of this well-respected journal told readers: “Enough is enough: stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”
We have a different message for our readers. We want you to know that what these studies really found is that if you eat well almost all the time, or take your vitamins only some of the time. You won’t get a benefit. This is news? The studies also didn’t show any harm from taking multivitamins. We recommend that, twice a day, most people take half a multivitamin, containing important nutrients at levels close to their recommended daily allowance.
It’s a great, inexpensive insurance policy against an imperfect diet. More than 60% of folks taking the nutrition test at RealAge.com don’t get recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals from their diet. (sea salt, for example, doesn’t have much iodine)
The reason for taking half a multi in the morning and half at night is that you urinate out soluble vitamins in 12-16 hours. Two doses help to keep blood levels steady.
We also take a daily supplement of 1 000 IU of vitamin D-3 and DHA omega-3. (Mehmet takes 600mg and Mike takes 900mg, because he’s over 60)
Worried about synthetic multivitamins? Here’s our advice.
What’s In It For You?
In addition to an 18% reduction in cancer rates after age 70, here are a few more benefits:
1. If you’re over the age of 50: A multivitamin can reduce risk for non-prostate cancers by 6% to 18% in men, and cut risk for adenomas – polyps that can become colon cancers – by 20%. To cut your risk for vision loss and early forms of age-related macular degeneration, add 900mg of DHA and a lutein and zeaxanthin supplement (Mike does) to help to protect your eyes.
2. If you’re a woman of reproductive age: Take a multivitamin enriched with the 400-600mg DHA omega-3 at least three months before you conceive and throughout your pregnancy. It can reduce your child’s risk for autism by 40%, of serious birth defects by 80% and of childhood cancers (those that strike between ages two and six) by 65%. Since 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, taking your multi daily, whether you’re thinking about motherhood or not, is a good idea. If you do become pregnant, talk with your doctor about other prenatal vitamins.
3. If you take a diuretic, an acid- blocking proton pump inhibitor or the diabetes drug metformin. Some diuretics can reduce your body’s store of potassium, needed for healthy muscle function and healthy blood pressure. PPIs can lower levels of vitamin B-12, which helps your body to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA. And metformin can reduce B-12 levels and magnesium, also important for healthy blood pressure.