Popular vitamin and mineral supplements didn’t provide any measurable health benefits to prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke or early death, according to a new study.
The study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Cardiology found no helpful or harmful outcomes for people who took multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C. Results were based on analysis of existing information, mainly published between January 2012 and October 2017.
There were some exceptions: Folate and other B-vitamins (B6 and B12) did surface some minor evidence of reducing heart disease risk and risk of stroke, largely because of a Chinese study included in the overall research. Niacin (B3) and antioxidants actually proved harmful in this analysis, increasing risk of death. This finding was a “very small signal,” lead author David J.A. Jenkins stressed.
Authors note that participants involved in some of the studies used might not be representative of the general population. So, consult a medical professional before tossing or buying any recommended vitamins. The study was funded by the Canadian federal government and by food retailer Loblaw Companies.
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Instead of opting for supplements, Jenkins, a Canada Research Chair and professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at University of Toronto, advises people to consume needed nutrients through “a more plant-based diet of less processed food.”
This isn’t the first time medical professionals have questioned taking supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has said there is insufficient evidence on benefits or harms of multivitamins to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer and actually recommends against taking β-carotene or vitamin E. In 2013, a group of professors at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told people to “stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”
Jenkins said more research must be done to determine overall findings and he hopes to look at links between vitamins and cancer outcomes in the future.
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