Ask the doctor: Which supplements do I need?

Q. There seems to be agreement that supplements are worthless in supporting good health. I've been taking a multivitamin for older women for many years. I also take a calcium supplement since I am lactose intolerant. Should I discontinue the multivitamin, the calcium, or both?

A. You are definitely right about the recent consensus that most supplements, and certainly multivitamins, provide very little, if any, benefit to our health. So yes, stop taking the multivitamin. A far more important strategy to maintain good health is eating a diet containing lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and small amounts of protein. Our bodies were designed to absorb nutrients from food, and that continues to be the best way to get them in our systems.

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