The most popular vitamin and mineral supplements commonly consumed such multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C, provide no measurable health benefit or harmful outcomes, according to a new study.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are taken to add to nutrients that are found in food.
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Researchers review of existing data and single randomized control trials published between 2012 to 2017 found that those supplements showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.
The researchers reviewed supplement data that included A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; and β-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium.
The term ‘multivitamin’ in this review was used to describe supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.
The study found folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.
While Niacin (B3) and antioxidants actually proved “very small signal” harmful, increasing risk of death.
Chinese study included in the research B9 (folic acid) and other B-vitamins (B6 and B12) did surface some minor evidence of reducing heart disease risk and risk of stroke.
Dr. David Jenkins, the study’s lead author at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, said “We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume.
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.”
“These findings suggest that people should be conscious of the supplements they’re taking and ensure they’re applicable to the specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies they have been advised of by their healthcare provider,” Dr. Jenkins said.
“In the absence of significant positive data – apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease – it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals,” Dr. Jenkins said. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts.”
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.