Docs say you must take your multi: support grows for the importance of taking a daily multivitamin to prevent disease – News and notes: latest research, interviews, product reviews, tips, & trends

Docs say you must take your multi: support grows for the importance of taking a daily multivitamin to prevent disease – News and notes: latest research, interviews, product reviews, tips, & trends – Brief Article

FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE INFLUENTIAL Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that all adults should take a daily multivitamin to prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. The report, written by researchers and physicians at Harvard Medical School in Boston, is based on a review of 152 studies published during the past 40 years.

Holistic doctors, who have extolled the benefits of vitamins for decades, think many conventional docs will take the study results seriously and begin recommending multis to their patients more often. “Not only is JAMA widely read, it’s credible and conservative,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Statistics show that Americans need to hear about the importance of taking multivitamins. Only 20 to 30 percent of adults consume the five to nine recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day, leaving the majority at an increased risk for nutrient deficiencies and chronic diseases. “Even if you eat a balanced diet you should take a multivitamin,” says Barnard. The most healthful diets may still lack the right levels of vitamins, he says, especially of [B.sub.12] and D.

Most experts agree that any multivitamin containing 100 percent of the recommended requirements for each nutrient is adequate. However, because iron can be harmful in high doses, Barnard advises opting for an iron-free supplement unless you’ve been diagnosed with a deficiency. And because vitamins A and D can also be harmful in high amounts, look for a supplement that contains beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) instead of A, and 400 IU of vitamin D. Take your multi with a meal because evidence suggests that food helps your body absorb the nutrients more efficiently.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group