1. Multivitamin study completely misses the mark

    The REAL benefits of a multivitamin

    A roof alone won't make a house -- but it's a pretty good start.

    Multivitamins are like that roof. They're not going to magically give you good health.

    But they're a pretty good start.

    Like a roof, they'll give you some cover. They'll help make sure you get most of the major nutrients you need each day and fill in any gaps.

    And over the long run, they'll pack some pretty big benefits.

    So, don't be scared off by the new study on multivitamins.

    I'm sure you've seen the headlines, which claim they don't cut heart risk in men over 11 years.

    But there are a few HUGE problems with the study.

    First, the research team used data from the Physicians Health Study II, which focused on male doctors over the age of 50.

    In particular, it focused on the men who ate less healthy diets -- but these weren't exactly men eating the typical American diet.

    They're doctors, after all.

    The men in the study who followed the least healthy diets were still eating better than most people, almost certainly getting more nutrition from food and less likely to need the nutrients in a multivitamin than everyone else.

    Second, along with eating better, doctors have constant access to healthcare.

    Even minor warning signs of heart risk will get attention because -- again -- they're DOCTORS.

    As a result, they're less likely to have heart problems in the first place.

    And third, the study didn't last long enough!

    Docs might be less prone to heart attacks and such, but they're not immune
    -- and despite what the new study found, even doctors can benefit from multivitamins.

    A Harvard University study, also of doctors, found no benefit at 12 years or less, which is right in line with the new study.

    But they went further.

    The Harvard team found the benefit started to kick in at the 13-year mark. And by 20 years, men who had been taking multivitamins all along saw a 44 percent drop in heart risk.

    That's a REAL benefit -- and you can bet that in the general population of
    men who aren't doctors and are more likely to face heart troubles, it would almost certainly be far bigger.

    And that's not all multivitamins can do for you.

    Studies have shown that in some people, a multi can cut the risk of certain types of cancer, help keep you out of the hospital and even boost your mood.

    Look for a quality mix from a maker you trust, but don't stop there. Talk to your doc about your diet and lifestyle, because you might also need a few more supplements to complete the picture.

  2. Do multivitamins work?

    Big flaws in vitamin study

    It takes a lot to get me mad. But right now, I'm positively steamed over a stunningly ignorant new report that claims multivitamins are a waste of time and money -- and that if you're taking one yourself, you should stop.

    But this report isn't based on science. It's not even a study. It's an editorial based on three recent studies, each with glaring problems. The main question is do multivitamins work? 

    One claims multivitamins won't prevent a second heart attack in heart patients -- but more than half of the patients in the study stopped taking their vitamins. It's kind of hard to say the vitamin failed when the majority didn't actually take it.

    The second says multis won't prevent cognitive decline in older men -- but these weren't your typical older men. They were doctors, and very healthy doctors at that. Whether they took a vitamin or placebo, they didn't even suffer the level of decline expected in men of their age.

    And the third claims multivitamins won't do much for heart risk -- except it was a meta-analysis, aka the type of study where you can pick and choose data in hindsight that supports a pre-determined conclusion.

    But forget the flaws (if you can), because there's a much bigger problem with these studies: They were designed to fail.

    Multivitamins were never intended to prevent heart attack or cognitive decline, and I don't know anyone who takes them thinking they do. Multivitamins are there to make sure you're covered on the most basic nutrients -- the nutrients all of us need, but many of us don't get from diet alone.

    Do multivitamins work at fighting disease? Not exactly, they're a starting point, and as such they're pretty good: One recent study found that a multivitamin can reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by a third. Another found that even a mediocre multi can reduce the risk of all non-prostate cancers in men by 12 percent.

    And other studies have shown that multivitamins can improve mood and focus, ease stress, fight fatigue and more.

    But again, they're a starting point. Once you find yourself facing more serious problems and risks, you need to do more to take control of your health.

    If you're suffering from heart disease, for example, boosting your magnesium intake will cut your risk of death from heart problems by more than half.

    Just don't expect to find that magnesium in a multi. It takes up too much room in the capsule -- so you need to boost your intake through diet, a separate magnesium supplement or (ideally) both.

    Same for cognitive decline -- because while both omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins have been shown to slow the decline that comes with age and prevent dementia, you won't find enough for those benefits in a multi.

    Again, you'll need separate supplements.

    So don't give up on your multi and if you're still wondering do multivitamins work., just realize that it's one piece of the puzzle -- a starting point with the basics we all need. The rest of the picture will depend on your health, your diet and your specific needs and risks.

    That's why you need to work with a doctor, ideally an integrative holistic doctor who can combine the best in natural health and vitamins with mainstream medicine.

  3. Easy and inexpensive ways to boost your brainpower

    Want to be smart? Follow your mother's advice and don't forget to take your vitamins -- because even the basics can deliver noticeable and almost immediate benefits.
  4. Vitamin research doesn't pass the sniff test

    The latest study on multivitamins concluded that women who take multivitamins face the same risk of cancer and heart disease as women who don't.

4 Item(s)