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No benefit or even harm: why it is worth stopping taking vitamins and how is it better to replace them

Many people around the planet are taking vitamins. In the US, this share is half of American adults and 70% of those over 65. They regularly take multivitamins and mineral supplements, spending about $ 12 billion annually on them. with the BBC.

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Experts from Johns Hopkins University argue that it was more useful to invest this money in healthy food that contains the vitamins and minerals that humans need.

Multivitamins (or multivitamins) are preparations containing several vitamins, sometimes together with trace elements, in one capsule.

In an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine called "Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Multivitamins and Mineral Supplements," the scientists shared the results of three studies they conducted:

an analysis of 450 thousand people shows that multivitamins do not reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer;

observation of 5947 men, conducted over 12 years, showed that they do not reduce the risk of degradation of thinking abilities and memory;

Among 1708 heart attack survivors, of whom one group took large doses of multivitamins for 55 months, and the other a placebo, the number of repeated heart attacks, heart operations and deaths was approximately the same.

Scientists have also found that supplements containing vitamin E and beta-carotene can be harmful, especially in high doses.

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“Pills are not a shortcut to health and the prevention of chronic disease,” says Larry Appel, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. "It's much healthier to eat healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight, and cut back on saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and salt."

The exception is folate supplements for women of childbearing age, he says.

“Folic acid prevents babies from having a neural tube defect if the mother has taken it before and during early pregnancy. Therefore, these multivitamins are recommended for young women, ”says Appel.

Scientists advise all women of reproductive age to take 400 micrograms of folate daily. The iron in multivitamins can also be beneficial, Appel adds.

“I don't recommend anything else,” he says. "By following a healthy diet, you get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your food."

Doctor's diet

“I don't take any supplements,” said Larry Appel. - In return, I try to consume fruits and vegetables at every meal. I love salads and I definitely eat them for lunch or dinner. "

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“Skim milk and yogurt contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, so I eat whole grain cereal and milk for breakfast several times a week, and I often eat yogurt,” he adds. - At home for dinner, we usually have fish or chicken, which contains the necessary proteins. I'm not a vegetarian, I just try to eat less meat. Some fish, such as salmon, are rich in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. ”

What else is advised and what is not advised by scientists from Hopkins University

Scientists advise including whole grains in your diet. According to them, the shells of wheat, brown rice and barley grains contain vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Whole-grain breads and cereals have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and improve digestion.

Also, don't forget about fatty acids. Omega-3 groups. They are indispensable for building the membranes of brain cells. The body does not produce them on its own and must receive them from the environment. They are abundant in salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as nuts, flaxseed and canola oil. An adequate diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and bowel inflammation.

At the same time, it is worth cutting back on saturated fat. They are found in abundance in butter, whole milk, full-fat cheese, ice cream, fatty meats, poultry skins, palm and coconut oil. Promote the accumulation of cholesterol in blood vessels, negatively affect the absorption of sugar in the blood. Reducing the intake of saturated fat is a means of preventing cardiovascular disease.

However, it is possible that not everyone will agree with the recommendations of experts from Johns Hopkins University regarding the optimal diet. The views of some modern nutritionists and their conclusions about the benefits of a number of products, in particular, dairy, fat-free and cereals, differ from the recommendations of these scientists.

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