The consensus recommendation is this: when possible, get your nutrients from food and not pills. While multivitamins are generally assumed to be safe, some contain excessive doses of nutrients, 19 or more times the recommended daily intakes.
For instance, some supply high doses of vitamin A, which may weaken bones. Heavy doses of copper can interfere with the absorption of zinc, and vice versa.
But some groups may not be able to obtain all the vitamins and nutrients they need from diet. For example, some of us old folks have a diminished capacity to absorb vitamin B-12 from food. Especially in cold northern winters, it can be difficult to get adequate vitamin D from sunlight and diet. Most multivitamins, however, don't supply as much vitamin D as experts recommend.
Strict vegetarians may not get enough B-12, zinc, iron, or calcium. Women of child-bearing age and pregnant women may have special needs not met through diet.
If you have any of these concerns, it might be best to talk with your doctor about specific supplements you may need, rather than relying on all-purpose multivitamins. The blood results from my annual physical last year showed that I was low on vitamin D, so I now take a vitamin D-3 pill with breakfast every morning.
I'd much rather go this route than try to figure out which among the staggering array of multivitamins might provide enough vitamin D without overloading my system with other vitamins or minerals.
Daily aspirin therapy
Daily aspirin therapy may lower your risk of heart attack, but daily aspirin therapy isn't for everyone. Is it right for you?
If you've had a heart attack or stroke, your doctor will likely recommend you take a daily aspirin unless you have a serious allergy or history of bleeding. If you have a high risk of having a first heart attack, your doctor might recommend aspirin after weighing the risks and benefits.
You shouldn't start daily aspirin therapy on your own, however. While taking an occasional aspirin or two is safe for most adults to use for headaches, body aches or fever, daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects, including internal bleeding.
The brand I took -- Lipitor (atorvastatin) -- is the best-selling prescription drug in history. I started using Lipitor when I was 60 and stopped when I was 83.
It's bad enough that the medical profession has ignored Neel's advice. Then came new guidelines in 2014, which unfortunately created millions of new statin users, many of them over age 60.
Here are some other recent developments:
- Contrary to earlier studies suggesting that statins might ward off Parkinson's, new research found that users of statins are more than twice as likely to develop Parkinson's later in life than those who don't.
- Another new study indicates that statins increase the risk of diabetes by 46%.
I'm sure I’d still be taking statins if I hadn’t done the research on my own.