The elderly and those who follow restrictive diets face the risk of vitamin deficiency, but even people who eat a normal diet may not be getting enough of certain vitamins, according to researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Because low vitamin intake has been linked to a host of illnesses, the researchers recommend that everybody--regardless of age or health status--take a daily multivitamin.
In two articles reported last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, review studies published between 1966 and 2002 that investigated the links between vitamin intake and diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease. For example, studies have shown that taking the B vitamin folic acid early in pregnancy can help prevent certain birth defects, while others have suggested the vitamin might cut the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Other vitamins, such as vitamin E, have been found to reduce cancer risk when consumed at recommended levels, and vitamin D plus calcium supplements have been shown to decrease the risks of bone loss and fracture in the elderly.
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