JAMA Article Urges All Adults To Take Daily Multivitamin
19 June 2002
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor
Kathleen M. Fairfield and Robert H. Fletcher, of Harvard Medical
School in Boston MA, recommend that all adults take a daily multivitamin.
Their two-part report appears in the June 19th issue of the Journal
of the American Medical Association.
and Fletcher reviewed studies of relationships between vitamin intake
and various diseases published between 1966 and 2002.They conclude
that suboptimal levels of vitamin intake are associated with increased
risk of contracting a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer
and heart disease. This is true even when intakes are high enough
to prevent classical symptoms of deficiency diseases like scurvy,
beriberi and rickets.
SupplementQuality.com reported in a previous article (see RDAs
And Safe Upper Levels: Solid Science Versus Bureaucratic Bias),
the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, of various vitamins is
intended to prevent deficiency disease, not to provide an optimal
level of vitamin inake. It has long been known that the elderly,
the sick, and people on restrictive diets are vulnerable to vitamin
deficiencies. However, the "normal diet" of more than two-thirds
of Americans does not include the recommended daily intake of at
least five servings of fruits and vegetables. Only those eating
a "super-perfect" diet are likely to get all the vitamins they need
from their food.
and Fairfield also warned that excessive dosage levels can have
toxic effects. They also indicate that many doctors may view vitamins
as "an alternative therapy" -- or may not appreciate the importance
of vitamin deficiencies and may therefore overlook the value of
recommending multivitamins to their patients.
Fairfield MD and Robert Fletcher MD. "Vitamins for Chronic Disease
Prevention: Scientific Review and Clinical Applications." Clinician's
Corner, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol
287, No 23, 19 July 2002.