If you want to live longer and stay healthy longer, you should eat healthy and exercise. A study confirms that these two lifestyle factors are critical to maintaining good health.
Many people take vitamins and various nutritional supplements that they cannot get from food.
Some of these supplements may have benefits, but researchers say they are not necessary for good health or help you live longer.
The researchers added that vitamins are not beneficial for women who are not pregnant and healthy. Some people use it to reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, no clinical trials have shown a link between vitamins and a reduced risk of disease.
“Patients ask all the time, ‘What supplements should I take?’ “They’re wasting money and thinking there must be some magic combination of pills that will keep us healthy when all we need to do is eat healthy and exercise,” said Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine at Northwestern University’s Department of Medicine. Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dr. Linder and his colleagues at Northwestern Medicine published their research JAMA Journal of Medicine Network in 2022 June 21
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) conducted a meta-analysis of 84 studies on the effectiveness of vitamins. Based on this study, they revised the guidelines for taking vitamins or supplements. They found that there was “insufficient evidence” that the supplements increased life expectancy and reduced the risk of disease in healthy adults.
However, the task force does not condemn vitamins, but questions their effectiveness. If these vitamins made us live longer, we would now have the evidence to support it. On the other hand, studies show that certain vitamins can have negative effects on health.
In fact, the task force found that taking beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of lung cancer.
Also, they do not recommend taking vitamin E supplements because they have no effect on reducing cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Linder explains that people who buy vitamins believe that they are investing in their health and ensuring a longer life. Some don’t have the time or income to cook healthy meals, so they choose vitamins to supplement their diet.
This seems a logical approach, since fruits and vegetables generally reduce the risk of disease. And if you can get the same benefits in pill form, why invest time and energy in maintaining a balanced diet?
Vitamins can still be helpful for some people
However, scientists explain that vitamins alone may not provide the same benefits as fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh food contains vitamins, fiber, phytochemicals and micronutrients that are beneficial for health.
However, people who are vitamin deficient may benefit from taking supplements. For example, older people who use calcium and vitamin D can help prevent bone fractures or osteoporosis. This could help ensure a longer life for the elderly.
In addition, it is highly recommended for women who are pregnant or who want to become pregnant to take certain vitamins, such as folic acid.
The researchers explained: “Some vitamins, such as folic acid, are essential for proper fetal development. The most common way to meet these needs is to take a prenatal vitamin.
More data are needed to understand how supplementation with certain vitamins can alter the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and cardiovascular complications during pregnancy. »
However, if you want to live longer, it mostly depends on lifestyle factors.
Another Northwestern study found that many women in the United States had suboptimal heart health before pregnancy. Therefore, clinicians should work with patients to improve their cardiovascular health as part of prenatal care.
Vitamin supplements can help maintain optimal health during pregnancy, but other factors such as diet and exercise are just as important.