Do women's health vitamins work?

Researchers concluded that multivitamins do not reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, or cognitive impairment (such as memory loss and slow thinking). Multivitamins are not a ticket to optimal health. In fact, evidence that they improve the health of most people is inconsistent. In some cases, they can even cause harm.

If you're taking a multivitamin, it's probably because you want to do everything you can to protect your health. But there is still limited evidence that a daily cocktail of essential vitamins and minerals really delivers what one expects. Most studies find no benefit from multivitamins to protect the brain or heart. But there are potential benefits and there are no risks of a standard daily multivitamin.

The studies, published Dec. The best thing to do is to maintain a balanced diet. However, supplements can be a good way to fill in the gaps when they occur. Eating a balanced diet of fresh, whole foods is much more likely to ensure good long-term health.

Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about a medical condition. Optimists say that, despite no clear evidence of health benefits, multivitamin supplementation is low-risk and low-cost. The men in the study were in very good health to begin with, and 84 percent said they faithfully took their pills every day. Whether it's a boutique health brand, a bottle full of fruity gummies, or a traditional white bottle from the local pharmacy, most Americans take a vitamin every day.

The Women's Health Initiative study concluded that postmenopausal women who took multivitamins did not have a lower mortality rate than others and were equally likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancer of the lung, colon and rectum, breast and endometrium. The recommended amount varies by age from 1,000 mg to 1,300 mg, according to the Office of Women's Health. Multivitamins have been studied for several other purposes, such as promoting brain function and eye health. Studies suggest that most women don't get the RDA for calcium from their diet, which could lead to osteoporosis or other health problems.

Ninety-seven percent of women take prenatal vitamins or multivitamins during pregnancy, according to a similar survey conducted by The Harris Poll for March of Dimes. But it's especially important for pregnant women because it helps prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida. In particular, men should consider their iron intake, as they tend to store more than women, as well as people who have hemochromatosis. However, Guallar said, it's not clear that taking supplements to fill the gaps in a less-than-perfect diet actually translates into some kind of health stimulus.

However, the recommended amount increases to 4,000 mcg if you become pregnant or have a family history of spina bifida, according to the Office of Women's Health.

Derrick Bekhit
Derrick Bekhit

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