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The Telegraph Online   |     |   Published 06.01.14, 12:00 AM

Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements may actually do you no good.In an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a group of American physicians has put forward its view that those who buy vitamins may be “throwing their money away”, a claim supported by many others in their profession. The authors say that except for vitamin D, there is enough information from a host of studies to say that popping a vitamin pill daily doesn’t prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer or extend life. In fact, other studies have found that beta-carotene supplements may actually increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and that high doses of vitamins A and E cause harm and may increase the risk of death. So start eating healthy instead of popping pills for your daily dose of vitamins.

No laughing matter

Laughter is not only not the best medicine, it can actually be injurious to your health, says a scholarly review in the British Medical Journal.The co-authors, Dr Robin E. Ferner, an honorary professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Birmingham, and Jeffrey K. Aronson, a fellow in clinical pharmacology at Oxford, study the benefits and harms of medicines. They went through 785 scientific papers that mentioned laughter to find out its benefits and harms. According to their study, the force of laughing can dislocate jaws, make hernias protrude and cause asthma attacks and headaches. It can also provoke cardiac arrhythmia and fainting. A 1997 discussion of Boerhaave’s syndrome, a spontaneous perforation of the esophagus, a rare though potentially lethal event, mentioned that one unusual cause is laughter.There is also the mysterious Pilgaard-Dahl syndrome, identified in a 2010 article as a pneumothorax in middle-aged male smokers induced by laughter. On the plus side, the study found that laughter’s benefits included reduced anger, anxiety and stress; lower cardiovascular tension, blood glucose concentration and risk of myocardial infarction. “The benefit-harm balance,” the authors wrote, “is probably favourable.”

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