Stop Wasting Money On This Ineffective Daily Diet

Gummy multivitamins have become a way to get adults to get their daily dose of everything they need. 100 percent of your daily iron and sweets for breakfast? Win-win. But according to new research, these multivitamins might not do any good.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its 2022 report Systematic review and recommendation last week regarding multivitamins – specifically, the effectiveness of multivitamins in preventing cancer and heart disease in healthy Americans. In its update to its last statement on the subject in 2014, the task force states that there is both insufficient evidence for the definitive benefits of a multivitamin, as well as evidence that supplementation of certain compounds is even harmful.

jenny jiadoctor at Northwestern Medical, says Reverse that this information will change the way preventive care is practiced. “Now that we see that, unfortunately, vitamin supplements are not a magic bullet for preventing heart disease or cancer in healthy Americans, what should we focus on as providers?” Jia was not part of the task force, but co-author of an editorial in the review JAMA on the updated recommendation which was published the same day.

LONGEVITY TIPS is a regular series of Reverse about science-based strategies to live better, healthier and longer drug-free lives. Get more in our Hack index.

Science in action — The USPSTF reviewed 84 recent multivitamin studies. Together, this work included a total of 739,803 healthy US participants, meaning they had no vitamin deficiencies or other pre-existing conditions. Next, the working group researched the incidence of heart disease and cancer in this population.

Their conclusion? “Vitamin and mineral supplementation has been associated with little or no benefit in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death.” And, the compound beta-carotene was “significantly associated” with an increased risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular death, particularly among smokers.

It can be confusing that something like beta carotene, which is found naturally in vegetables like carrots and which the body converts into vitamin A, could be harmful. Turns out it’s hard to bottle the healthiest parts of a vegetable.

“We thought that maybe we had isolated the healthiest parts of fruits and vegetables in these pills,” Jia says of the supplement development. However, she says, “it’s hard to separate a vitamin from the rest of the package, the other phytochemicals, the fiber,” she says, referring to the nutritious plant chemicals that production gives us.

In fact, it could be that fruits and vegetables have a synergistic effect; it’s not a vitamin or mineral that works on its own, but whatever comes with that bite. In other words, we can isolate the main vitamin or mineral from carrots, but we lose so much more than ingredients when separated from the vegetable.

However, studying this synergy would take a lot of time and money. Jia tells Reverse that even choosing a starting point is a challenge because there are so many combinations to try. Single vitamins and minerals are easier to study because there is only one active compound.

Why it’s a hack — Taking supplements is not only a matter of physical health, but also of money. According to Jia’s editorial, US shoppers reportedly spent close to $50 billion on supplements in 2021. That same year, the vitamin industry spent an estimated $900 million on marketing. And since supplements does not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration for marketing and sales, they don’t receive the same scrutiny as drugs and therefore get to market faster. In fact, while supplement producers have to demonstrate that their products are safe and labels aren’t misleading, as long as the capsule doesn’t contain any new ingredients, the company doesn’t have to show the FDA proof of safety. before the sale.

There are two key things to remember about this news and the new recommendations:

  • It examines how supplements uniquely prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • It reviews supplements only in healthy people (i.e. people who are not pregnant and do not have vitamin deficiencies)

“For pregnant Americans, it’s still very important to take the prenatal multivitamin,” advises Jia. Folic acid, aka vitamin B9, is crucial for healthy fetal development. She continues that those with nutrient and vitamin deficiencies should of course continue to take their supplements. She notes that, for example, vitamin B12 comes mostly from animal protein, so people who don’t eat meat are more likely to have this deficiency and could benefit from a supplement.

How it affects longevity — For healthy people, it is better to get vitamins and minerals from food than from pharmacies. The synergistic effect of fruits and vegetables will probably do more for the body than supplements ever will.

Instead of supplements, Jia goes back to a proven advocate that everyone has heard before. “Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke,” she says. She acknowledges that this is easier said than done, especially since nutritious food and the time and space to exercise are not available to everyone. “It’s important to think about how we can better align our public policies and programs to promote the long-term health of all Americans,” she said. Reverse.

A paper 2012 which examines the impact of regular exercise on lifespan found that daily movement can increase longevity by up to seven years. And depending on when one adopts a healthy and consistent diet, practice could add a decade to life expectancy.

Hack score – 🤸🏿‍♂️🤾⛹🏽🍏🥦🥕/10 (6 out of 10 healthy exercises and eating habits instead of supplements)

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