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Rely on food for health

Scientists say healthy servings of less processed plant foods such as vegetables, fruits and nuts are sufficient enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto in Canada have found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.

“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said Dr. David Jenkins, the lead author of the study which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Jenkins and his team reviewed supplement data that included A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. The term ‘multivitamin’ in this systematic review was used to describe supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.

The researchers found folic acid and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke. “People should be conscious of the supplements they’re taking and ensure they’re applicable to the specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies they have been advised of by their healthcare provider,” Dr. Jenkins said in a statement.

“In the absence of significant positive data — apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease — it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals,” Dr. Jenkins said. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts.”

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