Americans have been taking multivitamin and mineral supplements since they first were introduced in the early 1940s, using them as a way to get the nutrients they may be lacking.
But are multi vitamins alone a good idea? Do they make up for poor nutrition?
Millions of American men take a multivitamin every day, but according to an article on WebMD, it may not be helping men’s hearts when taken just on their own. They’re beneficial, but not when taken as a substitute for nutrients.
This information comes from a study by Howard Sesso, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“Many had thought that men with ‘poor’ nutritional status at baseline may benefit more from long-term multivitamin use on cardiovascular outcomes; however, we did not see any evidence for this in our recent analysis.”
In the study, Sesso and his colleagues took data from an ongoing national study of more than 14,000 U.S. doctors over the age of 50. According to the 11 years of follow-up on the study, the multivitamins did not reduce the men’s risk of heart disease when taken solely without major dietary or lifestyle changes.
They aided in helping reduce the amount of nutrient deficiency but did not completely prevent the problem or stop the risk.
Applying this data to men that had a relatively poor diet, lacking in certain nutrients, did not yield any difference in results, stated Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at the NYU Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.
“This study, like previous studies, suggests that multivitamin use does not reduce risk of heart disease — even in men with poor nutrition.”
Marzo believes that too many Americans feel that multivitamins are just a quick fix to ward off greater health concerns. Too often they are primarily taken as a way to avoid proper diet and exercise. While they have benefits to boost a diet, they should not be taken as a replacement for poor eating choices. They are a very good supplement.
“Prevention strategies for reducing heart disease risk should focus not on dietary supplements but rather on regular exercise and a healthy diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, and unsaturated fats,” said Marzo.
Stephanie Schiff, a dietitian registered at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y., believes that they still have their place in the American diet.
“The best way to get nutrients is from whole foods, but sometimes it’s beneficial to take a multivitamin to help prevent nutritional shortfalls,” she said.