Samme Sez

I'm never wrong- and I can prove it!

Are multivitamins a waste of money? Editorial in medical journal says yes.

More than half of all adults in the United States take some sort of multivitamin; many do so in hopes of preventing heart disease and cancer or even to aid with memory. But an editorial published in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine says that using supplements and multivitamins to prevent chronic conditions is a waste of money. “The (vitamin and supplement) industry is based on anecdote, people saying ‘I take this, and it makes me feel better,’ said Dr. Edgar Miller, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the editorial. “It’s perpetuated. But when you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term. It can’t prevent mortality, stroke or heart attack.”

The editorial, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” is based on three studies looking at the effects of multivitamins on preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as improving cognitive function in men older than 65. All three studies were also published in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine.

The first study was a meta-analysis of 27 studies that covered more than 450,000 participants and found that multivitamins had no beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. In addition, taking vitamins didn’t prevent mortality in any way. However, the analysis did confirm that smokers who took only beta carotene supplements increased their risk of lung cancer.

When taking multivitamins to prevent a second heart attack, authors again found no beneficial evidence.
The second study looked at 1,700 patients who previously had heart attacks. They were assigned to take three multivitamins or placebos twice a day for five years. However, with more than 50% of patients stopping their medications, it was difficult for authors to come to any real conclusions about the vitamins’ effectiveness.
With such a high drop-out rate, “interpretation is very difficult,” said Miller.

The final study followed nearly 6,000 men older than 65, who took either a multivitamin or a placebo for 12 years. The men were administered cognitive functioning tests, and test results found no differences between the two groups. However, Gladys Block, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at University of California Berkeley, pointed out that the group of men followed in the cognitive study were all physicians with no health problems.
“These are very well-nourished, very health-conscious people,” she said.

In fact, she says none of the studies accurately represents the American population.

Block has spent her life studying the role of Vitamin C, in particular, on disease risk factors and says that most Americans are undernourished. She says that most Americans don’t have a healthy diet, and therefore don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need. “You’re not getting any of these micronutrients from Coke and Twinkies,” said Block. “Two-thirds of us are overweight, a quarter over 50 have two or more chronic conditions, so there’s a substantial population that one would hesitate to call healthy.”

Block went on to say, “There’s always a nontrivial minority that’s actually getting a questionable level of some micronutrients. So multivitamins are a backstop against our poor diet.” Cara Welch, senior vice president of the Natural Products Association, agreed with Block. “It is pretty common that in this day and age with the lifestyle many of us lead that we don’t always take the time to have a balanced diet, and even if you do have a balanced diet, you can still have nutritional deficiencies.”

The Natural Products Association is the largest trade organization representing the manufacturers and retailers of the natural products industry, including vitamins. The vitamin and supplement industry rakes in nearly $12 billion annually, according to the researchers, with multivitamins its most popular product. “Multivitamins address the nutritional deficiencies in people,” Welch said. “We don’t believe they are the answer to all life’s ailments, as the editorial suggests.”

Miller, however, disagreed that the studies didn’t represent the general public. “They didn’t select people who eat good diets or bad diets,” he said. “You assume that these people selected are the typical American diet. Taking a supplement in place of a poor diet doesn’t work.”

Some groups, however, do need supplements, he said.

“For people with deficiencies, malabsorption issues, and to prevent neural tube defects in pregnancy — there are a small number of conditions where we prescribe them.” Miller also said the jury is still out on Vitamin D, which can help strengthen bones, and omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA. Miller said the studies were unlikely to change any clinical standards, and that focusing on diet and exercise remain key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It’s something with which Block can agree. “Eat fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Source: CNN Health


December 24, 2013 Posted by | The latest in medicine, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

How to Change Your Life

As an expert, I’m often asked how to change bad health habits. “What’s the secret to stop smoking?” “There’s got to be a sure-fire way to lose this extra 15 pounds- Samme, what’s the secret?” Most of the time I just smile and offer encouraging words. Why? Some folks can’t handle the truth (apologies to Jack Nicholson).

If you are ready, I will share the secret for how humans can successfully change their ways.

Whether it be something health-related, such as smoking or weight loss or something frightening and dangerous (an abusive marriage) why do most people fail to make lasting change? They leave it up to “willpower.” This works for a while, but people always revert back to what’s comfortable. And there’s the answer, the secret, the “tip.” Change that with which you are most comfortable.

You’ve probably heard that humans are motivated by two things:
1) to avoid pain, and
2) to gain pleasure.

When you want to change a behavior pattern, the key is to associate pain with the behavior you don’t want, and pleasure with the behavior that you DO want.

A good example is the common challenge of losing weight. You know that you want to lose weight and that to do so you need to quit eating comfort food late at night. You also know that you need to start exercising on a regular basis. Up to this point, your brain is trained to associate pleasure with eating comfort food late at night and to associate pain with exercise.

It’s time to re-train your brain to feel good about exercise and to feel bad about eating late at night. Think about all of the negative things about being overweight and connect these unpleasant thoughts to your late night snack. Now, think about all of the wonderful things about being in shape and connect these pleasant thoughts to exercise.

You humans are capable of great things, including changing the very things which are lessening the quality of your life and the length of it. Are you ready to change?

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Day of Calm Energy

Well, not really. Remember, you can use these tips at anytime to boost your energy, calm your mind and senses. We’re going to hit you with the final “dose” of tips today. Are you ready?

Snack on Super-fruit.
USDA research suggests dried plums (aka prunes) are packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which boost mental energy by as much as 90%. The study-proven dose: 1/4 Cup (approx 4 prunes) daily.

Pace During Phonecalls.
Admittedly, this would be tough using your Bluetooth in the car. Researchers indicate that a two-minute burst of energy such as pacing while on a phonecall or even tidying up during commercial breaks doubles energy levels for up to 60 minutes. The motion boosts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain and muscles.

Slip on Sunny Colors.
“Looking at warm hues such as red and yellow stimulates the nervous system, revving energy and alertness, ” according to Margaret Walch, former executive director of The Color Association of the United States, which reports on color trends. Tip: try wearing upbeat colors and hanging warm-tones artwork in rooms you frequent.

Think Positively.
This was probably a no-brainer, but you might need to engage in one of the other activities to get you to this place. Optimistic thoughts increase production of mood-boosting serotonin, firing up energy levels in 10 minutes.

Massage Your Ears.
A two-minute massage increases neural activity in the brain’s cerebral cortex reducing fatigue for 81% of women. The correct technique? Grip each ear with your thumb and forefinger (go ahead, no one is watching) and slowly rub from tip to lobe, using circular motions.

So there you have it– a treasure trove of tips to bring a burst of energy to your day. Let us know which worked for you.

September 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment


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