Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world and we are not getting the vitamins and minerals we need on a daily basis from diet alone. Wise supplementation provides the nutritional insurance we need to fill in the gaps.
Don't jump to conclusions and stop taking vitamins because of what you may have read or heard in the media recently. It is naive to think that a multivitamin alone will prevent cancer, heart disease and other major illnesses; however wise supplementation with pure, safe and well-absorbed vitamins as part of a healthy lifestyle can and will promote optimum health and help protect against acute and chronic disease. Read study abstracts to get a clearer picture of what is being stated and who is stating it. Here's some good advice from The Harvard School of Public Health:
"Read enough nutrition news, and you’ll see that not all scientists agree on multivitamins. Some say that there’s not enough proof that multivitamins boost health, so they don’t recommend them. It’s a short-sighted point of view. Other scientists point to studies that seem to show a link between multivitamin use and increased risk of death. But those studies are flawed. Looking at all the evidence, the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin seem to outweigh the potential risks for most people."
As I advise my family, friends and clients, there are a lot of questionable practices, mislabeling and contamination in the unregulated herbal and nutritional supplement industry; therefore, it's important to use supplements from a manufacturer you can trust. Watch the video below, refer to my recent article, "The Safety of Conventional Supplements" and read the article below by Shaklee's Chair of Medical Affairs, Dr. Jamie McManus in response to the recent headlines about multiple vitamins. For scientific studies that support the use of nutritional supplements for overall health and disease prevention, visit www.landmarkstudy.com and www.clinicals.shaklee.com.
Posted on Shaklee Health Wise by Dr. Jamie McManus on Dec 19, 2013
Many of you have probably seen the headlines regarding multivitamins and their inability to prevent chronic disease in the past few days – the result of three studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Starting from a 30,000-foot view, the premise of these studies is the first problem: looking at the use of a multivitamin alone as a way to prevent disease. The purpose of a multivitamin is to fill in nutritional gaps and provide optimum levels of vitamins and minerals. It is well established that the vast majority of Americans fail to obtain even adequate levels of these nutrients.
Prevention of any disease is a multi-factorial process that has to include diet, weight management, and lifestyle. To expect to see disease prevention accomplished by virtue of taking a daily multivitamin is a flawed premise. So, why are these large-scale (and very expensive) studies undertaken? It is simply the model of research that scientists and physicians understand – studying a single drug to determine what effect it may have on a single disease. Studying nutrition is far more complex.
While a drug has a primary effect (usually something positive), they also have a myriad of side effects (which are usually negative and even life threatening). Every year pharmaceuticals are removed from the market because of these serious side effects. A study published in JAMA in 1998 showed that as many as 125,000 Americans die each year of properly prescribed pharmaceuticals – wow! When was the last time a vitamin was removed from the market?
Vitamins and minerals all have multiple positive functional roles to play in our bodies – which is why so many Americans pop a multi each day. People simply feel better when they take a multi because they are filling in those all too common nutrition gaps.
All three of these studies showed that multivitamins have an excellent safety profile. Well, of course they do! The only “potential harm” that continues to be mentioned every time we have a study such as this published is the slight increased risk of lung cancer in smokers who took beta carotene. My response to that is – smokers: stop smoking!
Let me quickly summarize these studies. The largest one is another report from the Physician Health Study – previous publications of data from this large government funded study did show an association of reduced cancer associated with multivitamin usage.
The next study looked at cognitive decline in physicians – who are at the upper end of the intelligence scale and pretty well nourished. Showing a significant change in cognitive decline in this population is going to take some intervention beyond a multi – as this population is most likely doing lots of the right things to protect their brain function.
The third study tried to show that higher doses of specific vitamins decrease the likelihood of a second heart attack in folks who have already had a heart attack. Hmmm. Maybe we should look at weight reduction, cholesterol, blood pressure lowering, and blood sugar management as opposed to putting the burden of prevention of a second heart attack in someone with heart disease on vitamins!
I have been recommending a multivitamin (and beyond) to my patients, and consumers in general, for my entire 30 years as a physician – and nothing in these studies changes my mind. The statistics on inadequacies in our American diet are clear – most everyone is deficient in multiple nutrients. Here at Shaklee, we have the Landmark Study, published in the journal Nutrition in 2007 that showed a nice correlation of better health with multiple supplement usage, starting with a multivitamin. We have over 100 published studies that validate the connection of nutrition and health. I urge you to continue taking your Shaklee supplements – but also, to remember the importance of eating healthfully, avoiding fast foods, and getting to a healthy weight on your journey to better health.