Supplement users are healthier

I've heard some people knock supplements by saying they only result in expensive urine.

I'll admit, it's a catchy line -- but it's also flat-out wrong.

Vitamins can prevent and cure disease and even save lives, and new research shows how those aren't the only ways they can keep you healthy.

While some vitamin critics claim supplement users are more likely to eat junk food because they (wrongly) believe their vitamins will counteract the junk, the new study confirms that just the opposite is true: People who take vitamins and supplements actually make better and more careful decisions about their health.

That makes perfect sense to me.

When you make a decision to take a supplement -- when you take the time to understand what nutrients you need, and then go out of your way to get them -- you're making a conscious decision to be healthy.

And that decision goes far beyond popping some vitamins.

It's the basis of a healthy lifestyle, which is why supplement users are more likely to eat better and choose more nutritious foods, according to the review of 20 studies. They're also more likely to keep a healthy weight, more likely to have good habits such as regular exercise, and less likely to have bad ones such as smoking.

And it's not just something they do when they start taking vitamins, and then lose interest in later on.

No, the study confirms that people who take supplements are actually more likely to make better choices and have healthy habits over the long run.

But of course, that's not all vitamins can do for you. Vitamins -- including key nutrients given in high doses you'll only find in supplement form -- can prevent or even reverse major disease.

Fish oil supplements, for example, are proven to protect the brain and heart. B vitamins can ward off the effects of dementia.