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Vitamin Myths
by Helen Edelman August 3, 2016

Myth: A multivitamin can make up for a bad diet. If only! A Women’s Health Initiative study of 161,808 midlife women showed multivitamin-takers are no healthier than those who don’t take them when it comes to cancer, heart disease or stroke, according to study author Marian Neuhouser, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle. Vitamin supplements were popularized in the early 1900s, when it was difficult to get fresh fruits and veggies year-round, resulting in vitamin-deficiency diseases such as rickets (bowed legs and deformed ribs from lack of vitamin D) or pellagra (skin and mental problems from lack of the B vitamin niacin).
Now, you’re unlikely to be seriously deficient if you eat an average American diet, however, “Multivitamins have maybe two dozen ingredients; plants have hundreds of useful compounds,” Neuhouser noted. If you just take a multivitamin, you’re missing lots of beneficial compounds. The study (showed) that multivitamin use has little or no influence on the risk of common cancers, cardiac disease, or total mortality in postmenopausal women.” Everyone’s needs differ – your doctor can tell you about your unique chemistry and what supplements you might need, or which might be harmful in excess or combination. Meanwhile, shop your Price Chopper/Market 32 produce aisle!

– Helen Susan Edelman, LiveSmart Project Director, livesmart@classroomenrichment.org;


Times Union - Edited and written by Helen Edelman

LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.