A New JAMA Study of Older Men Suggests Multivitamins Don't Lower Risk of Heart Disease
While multivitamins are typically used to prevent vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, some think they can also prevent cardiovascular disease. However, a major study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals otherwise. Between 1997 and 2011, researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed 14,641 American male physicians, all of whom were age 50 or older at the start of the study. Participants who took a daily multivitamin for more than 10 years had no reduced risks of heart attack, stroke, or death. Study leader Howard Sesso, an associate epidemiologist in the Brigham's Division of Preventive Medicine, pointed out that certain lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease, reports the Los Angeles Times. "I think the finding not only illustrates that heart disease can be an inevitable part of aging … but that making a lifetime commitment to eating right and exercising can delay the onset of this disease."
Pharmacists' Picks: Top Recommended Health Products
Claritin or Zyrtec? Tylenol or Excedrin? Carmex or ChapStick?
When you've got a drippy nose, monster headache, or simply chapped lips, chances are you head to your local pharmacy in search of relief, where endless over-the-counter treatment options await, sardine-packed on store shelves. For many of us, the which-product-should-I-buy decision is little more complex than a game of eeny, meeny, miney, mo. For some, it comes down to price. For others, it's brand loyalty (Mom always went with...). For others yet, it's whichever medication has the most convincing TV commercial. For most of us, it's a decision we make alone. But we don't have to.
Enter the pharmacists—those white-coated, behind-the-counter individuals who, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, "dispense prescription medications to patients and offer advice on their safe use." Indeed, pharmacists must understand the complex composition of medicines, as well as the laws that regulate their manufacture and sale, and they instruct patients on how and when to take a prescribed medicine, advise on potential side effects, and stay alert for the possibility of risky drug interactions.
But they have a lot to say about all the products lining drug store aisles, too. For 16 years, the industry trade publication Pharmacy Times has surveyed tens of thousands of pharmacists nationwide to pinpoint the top pharmacist-recommended over-the-counter products within a range of categories. The results, published annually in its OTC Guide, are then widely circulated to pharmacists throughout the country to help them guide consumers' shopping decisions. But consumers themselves have not previously had access to this stockpile of data, insight on which brand-name products are standouts in the eyes of most pharmacists; the products they recommend most often to their patients, their friends, and their family members. Until now. [Read more: Pharmacists' Picks: Top Recommended Health Products]
Top 5 Foods to Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's natural response to infection and injury. It is an important defense mechanism that helps our body to heal by bringing nutrients and immune cells to the affected area, writes U.S. News blogger Mitzi Dulan.
Whole-body inflammation, on the other hand, is damaging rather than helpful. This chronic form of inflammation is associated with a host of problems such as the painful swelling associated with arthritis, heart disease, and some kinds of cancer. Eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help to keep pain at bay.
Below are some top choices for anti-inflammatory foods:
1. Foods high in omega-3s: One cause of inflammation throughout the body is an imbalance in the consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The average western diet includes up to 10 times more omega-6 fatty acids—found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils—than omega-3s, so it's a good idea to get more of the anti-inflammatory omega-3s into the diet on a daily basis. Some great sources include salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, trout, flaxseeds, and walnuts. You may also consider taking a fish oil supplement, but make sure you choose one that contains omega-3s, and not omega-6s, and comes from a reputable brand.
2. Extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil contains a natural anti-inflammatory agent and may be partly responsible for the low levels of heart disease among those following a Mediterranean diet. Use it for cooking instead of butter or vegetable oil. [Read more: Top 5 Foods to Fight Inflammation]