It's an election year. You can bet the candidates will all give a lot of lip service to health care. But I bet none of them will discuss how alternative medicine could save this country billions of dollars every year.

That's because taking vitamin supplements is a huge bone of contention among orthodox doctors. Many, if not most, will tell you that they will give you nothing more than expensive urine. Sometimes I just can't imagine where their brains are. All they have to do is look at their own literature.

In fact, that's exactly what some researchers did in a new study. They looked at the medical literature to date on just five nutraceuticals. They included calcium, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and saw palmetto.

Here's what the researchers discovered. They found that the population taking 1,200 mg of calcium with vitamin D will suffer 734,000 fewer hip fractures over five years. The savings to society in spared health costs would be almost $14 billion. And that's just from calcium and vitamin D.

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Now for folic acid. What would happen if 10.5 million women of childbearing age took just 400 mcg daily? The researchers said there would be 600 fewer babies born with neural tube birth defects. The savings to society would be $322 million.

And, for omega 3s? The review found consistent evidence that it helps prevent heart attacks. Omega 3s also showed "promising" evidence in depression, renal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

The authors found evidence that glucosamine is an anti-inflammatory for osteoarthritis. And, saw palmetto alleviates symptoms of benign prostatic enlargement.

The study concluded that use of supplements can save billions in otherwise unnecessary medical costs.

It can't be any clearer than that. Supplements do protect you. And this study did not even touch on micronutrients, such as selenium and zinc, and all the other nutrients I've told you about. That's why most people should take supplements every day, starting with a good quality multivitamin like Healthy Resolve (formerly Max Plus).

Ref: "Improving Public Health, Reducing Health Care Costs: An Evidence-Based Study of Five Dietary Supplements," DaVanzo J, et al, The Lewin Group, September 22, 2004.

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