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Study Finds More Evidence That Vitamin, Mineral Supplements Don't Have Health Benefits

May 30, 2018 11:45 PM EDT
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Vitamins
Daily vitamins aren't as essential after all. A new study reveals that the most commonly taken supplements don't really offer benefits in preventing diseases.
(Photo : Steve Buissinne | Pixabay)

Supplements are taken in hopes of giving people a fighting chance against diseases, but scientists found that they're not as useful as people think.

Vitamins and mineral supplements give consumers the additional nutrients they don't get adequately from their daily diet. It turns out it doesn't really offer added benefits.

No Vitamins, No Problem

The study, published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, revealed that the most common supplements people take — specifically multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C — actually don't have much of an impact in preventing cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or even just premature death.

A team of researchers from the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital reviewed previously collected data and random control trials from a six-year period during January 2012 up to October 2017.

The review included data on A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E, plus β-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Then multivitamins were also included in the study, referring to supplements that had the most minerals and vitamins.

Lead author Dr. David Jenkins reveals that the team was surprised to learn that there were very scarce positive effects that can be attributed to common supplements consumed by people.

"Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm — but there is no apparent advantage either," Jenkins says in a statement in EurekAlert.

Out of all the supplements tested, folic acid on its own and folic acid in B-vitamins were shown to possibly help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, although there was little evidence of this effect as well.

On the other hand, niacin as well as antioxidants had a miniscule effect that may even signify a higher risk of death that's from any other cause.

Jenkins continues that their research suggest that consumers should be careful of what they're putting in their bodies. He also explains that the supplements should be suited to their own vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as advised by a certified healthcare provider.

Vitamin, Mineral Advice

Instead of being overly dependent on supplements, the team recommends simply eating healthy. After all, extra vitamins and minerals are only supposed to fill the needs that the regular diet is unable to.

With the findings showing that there are actually no added advantages to artificial supplements, the best choice may still be balanced, nutritious meals.

"So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts," Jenkins says.

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