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What's Up Magazine

Research Report

Nov 20, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo

No Harm, No Foul: Do Vitamin Supplements Work? 

More than one-third of Americans take dietary supplements, including multivitamins every day, but if you’ve ever wondered if these vitamins and minerals help, you might be onto something. Research out of Toronto suggests that while the most commonly taken vitamin and mineral supplements—that is, multivitamins, vitamin D, vitamin C, and calcium—don’t cause any harm. They also don’t really offer any advantages, either, when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes or premature death. 

In reviewing studies published between 2012 and 2017, researchers did find a small benefit to taking folic acid and B vitamins in preventing cardiovascular disease. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits, and nuts,” says David Jenkins, MD, the study’s lead author in a press release.

Even “Healthy” Obesity Has Risks

Although certain women who are categorized as obese due to their Body Mass Index (BMI) might be metabolically healthy—that is, free from risk factors surrounding metabolic syndrome such as high blood pressure, poorly controlled blood sugar or diabetes, and abnormal blood fats—they still are at a higher risk of developing heart disease than women of a normal weight. The research came from a study of more than 90,000 American women over a 30-year period and was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. The results stayed the same, even when researchers adjusted for factors such as age, diet, smoking, alcohol, family history, and more.

Women who are obese and metabolically unhealthy are 2.5 times more likely to develop heart disease than women who are an average weight, while those who are obese and metabolically healthy still had a 39 percent higher risk. “Our findings highlight the importance of preventing the development of metabolic diseases, and suggest that even individuals in good metabolic health may benefit from early behavioral management to improve their diet and increase physical activity in order to guard against progression to poor metabolic health,” says Professor Matthias Schulze from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal, Germany.

Stay Mentally Young with Hormone Therapy

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be a frustrating symptom of growing older, and there hasn’t been any way to medically treat or manage MCI—until now, potentially. Research published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, found that post-menopausal women who suffered from MIC who underwent a hormone therapy treatment over a period of two years had significant improvement in cognitive test scores. The results are promising, researchers say, but they also note that it was a small study group and further research is necessary.