Two major studies have underlined the fact that vitamins are a major illness preventative something which many doctors still refuse to accept.
The first study endorses the widely held belief that foods rich in B-carotene such as carrots and green vegetables can reduce the risk of heart attack.
The second shows that a body low in vitamins will also be low in amino acids.
That these findings should be a revelation to doctors is explained by Dr Meir Stampfer, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association:
"Nutrition in general, and vitamins in particular, has traditionally rated only a passing nod in medical school. Physicians in training are typically taught that a 'balanced' diet is sufficient and that hardly anyone really needs vitamin supplements."
The study into B-carotene is particularly significant because it was carried out by the prestigious euramic Centre of Zeist in the Netherlands. It studied tissue samples from 683 people with severe heart problems and a further 727 controls across nine countries.
Apart from emphasizing that vegetables are good for us, they also confirmed that smokers are at higher risk of heart attack, and need even higher doses of B-carotene.
People with heart disease also tended to suffer from hypertension and diabetes. The Lancet, 4 December, 1993.
The second study was among 1160 elderly people in the US, and discovered a strong association between levels of the amino acid cysteine and the vitamins B12 and B6. It was carried out by Tufts University at Boston, Mass.
!AJAMA, 8 December, 1993.