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Fresh Living

A new 8-year national study of postmenopausal women is reporting that taking multivitamins makes no difference in whether women develop cancer or cardiovascular disease.  The study finds that the better predictor of fighting cancer and being heart healthy is the quality of one’s diet. 

In other words, the study says, if you eat a healthy, balanced diet rich with fruits, vegetables, and “good” fats, vitamin supplements are a waste of money. 

Moreover, taking vitamins that contain over 100 percent of the daily recommended dose of some nutrients can cause kidney stones (vitamin D, calcium) and even cancer (beta-carotene).  And just to confuse matters more, taking vitamin pills is even less useful when you consider the growing number of vitamin-fortified foods on the market, from breads to orange juice to eggs.

Read a Boston Globe article about the study here, and read more here about the Women’s Health Initiative, which released the findings as part of their massive study of postmenopausal health.

Meantime, I’m wondering what you think about vitamins.  For my part, I’ve taken a women’s multi-vitamin every day for the past 2 or 3 years, and my (entirely anecdotal) feeling is that I’ve gotten fewer colds since I started taking them.  But I also vividly remember my high school biology teacher telling me that most of what we take in vitamin supplements goes right back out via our urine, though (and wow do those B-vitamins make for a bright yellow surprise!), so I’m never sure I “believe” in the supplements.  And study after study shows that our bodies absorb nutrients better when they are delivered via actual food, so I do try to make a healthy diet my vitamin-giving priority.

Do you vitamin?  Is it a single multi, or one of those “packs” I’ve seen at the GNC?  Has your doctor prescribed them?  Or do you avoid the stuff for health or financial (or other) reasons?  Do tell.

While you mull, just remember to stay away from this stuff:

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