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If you are one of the millions of Americans powering the multivitamin and supplement industry to record profits, here is some good news. You can throw out that bottle of vitamins and quit wasting your money. At least, that is if it’s a healthy heart you’re after.
A recent study by the American Heart Association concluded that multivitamins are not the magic elixir for a healthy heart. The findings are certain to surprise consumers who have been purchasing these vitamins and mineral supplements to the tune of $21 billion in sales each year.
What Are The Experts Saying?
The American Heart Association came to this conclusion after a rigorous analysis of 18 different studies all concerned with the effects of multivitamins on heart health. These studies encompassed over 2 million individuals, covering more than a decade of research. What the AHA learned was that vitamins and supplements had no effect on conditions commonly associated with heart disease. This includes heart attacks, strokes, and fatalities linked to heart health.
If that isn’t enough to make you reconsider your multivitamin use, medical professionals have noted that over 20,000 Americans end up in the emergency room each year from supplement use. While multivitamins are designed to improve your health, they do sometimes come with side effects. You should consult with your physician about your multivitamin usage and always follow instructions and recommended doses.
You are probably wondering why your own doctor suggested supplements in the first place? That is a common occurrence and will probably confuse a lot of consumers. Doctors are trained to follow the best practices available. Those best practices evolve slowly, with science leading the way, eventually trickling down to the family physicians who commonly prescribe multivitamins. Doctors will certainly be listening as more research becomes available. The best thing you can do is to have a conversation with your doctor about what you are taking and why you are taking it.
The Supplement Industry Responds
Manufacturers of multivitamins, who stand to lose substantial sums of money if the public is listening to the conversation, wasted no time in responding. Representatives of the industry were quick to point out that supplements are no “magic bullet”, but they do, as their name implies, help supplement common deficiencies in modern diets. The industry argument that consumers will be hard-pressed to find cheaper alternatives with the same nutritional value will probably carry more weight with lower-income families.
Are There Better Alternatives?
You may wonder what your alternatives are, and you aren’t alone. Some 70% of Americans are consuming multivitamins each year, to little or no effect. The good news is that a healthy heart is still achievable without a vitamin. The advice from the medical profession is simple: choose produce, not pills. In fact, most medical researchers suggest it is preferable that Americans receive their daily nutritional requirements from real food. Vegetables and fruits have a proven record of maintaining and improving your health. It may not be as fun, or as affordable, but diet and exercise are still your best bet for a healthy heart.