Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefits and could even be increasing your risk of death, study finds
- Most multivitamins showed no harm nor advantage in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes or premature death
- But niacin and antioxidants showed signs of an increased risk of death from any cause
- Folic acid was the only supplement proven to reduce the risk of heart disease or a stroke
- Researchers recommend eating vegetables, fruits and nuts to get vitamins
The most popular vitamin and mineral supplements do not make people healthier, a new study has found.
Researchers say that common pills, including vitamin C capsules and calcium tablets have not been proven to provide health benefits.
Others could could even increase the risk of death.
Commercials on TV and online have advised us for years that these supplements can strengthen our bones, boost our immune systems and prevent chronic diseases.
But a research team from St Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto advises that people are better off getting their nutrients from eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.
Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefits, a new study has found
For the study, the team reviewed the most common supplements taken by the general population including A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E.
Also studied were the minerals β-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.
Multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C showed no harm, but also no advantage in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes or premature death.
However, niacin and antioxidants showed signs they could actually be harmful – because they showed a very small increased risk of death from any cause.
Niacin is often taken to improve cholesterol levels, maintain skin health and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, the vitamin has also been shown to raise blood sugar levels, which is particularly dangerous for someone with diabetes.
Therefore, someone could take a niacin thinking they are treating one health problem only to be increasing their risk of another.
Past studies have shown than, when taken in excess, antioxidant supplements have create a deficiency of several minerals like iron and zinc.
The absorption of these minerals is prevented from the gastrointestinal tract, depriving your of essential nutrients.
One glimmer of hope came in the form of folic acid, which was found to be the only supplement proven to reduce the risk of heart disease or a stroke.
Experts concluded you are better off eating few processed foods and more plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts to get your daily supply of vitamins.
Consuming vitamins and minerals beyond what the body needs – and at high doses – may exceed safe levels of intake and cause toxicity.
Additionally they add that many American foods are highly fortified such as vitamin D in milk, iron in flour and pasta, and iodine in salt.
‘The simple truth is we’ve got data and clinical trials that show that this approach,’Dr David Jenkins, the study’s lead author and professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences and Medicine at the University of Toronto, told Daily Mail Online.
‘We can prove that eating a plant-based diet, having olive oil has shown instances of a reduction in diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the case wasn’t the same of the supplements.
‘When your physician prescribes a supplement, then you take it, but most of the time you don’t need to be taking extra doses of vitamins.’
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, more than half of Americans take vitamin supplements, including 68 percent of those age 65 and older.
And according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2017, 29 percent of older adults take four or more supplements of any kind.
But the new findings confirm the latest US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation in 2014 that stated, ‘current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of single or paired nutrient supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer’.