The Supplements don’t work

By June Shannon Nutrition News   |   30th May 2018

Most of the more commonly used supplements are of no benefit to your heart health.

Lots of people take dietary supplements in the belief that they are good for their health however, a new study has revealed that most of the more commonly used vitamin and mineral supplements, except for folic acid, are of no benefit to your heart health.

Generally, vitamin and mineral supplements are taken to add to nutrients that are found in food.

The study, which was published in a leading medical journal, suggested that the most common vitamin and mineral supplements have no benefit for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.

For the study researchers carried out a review of existing data and trials published in English from January 2012 to October 2017 and found that the most common supplements; multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C; showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.

"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,”

Dr David Jenkins,, Department of Nutrition Sciences and Medicine at the University of Toronto

“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said the study’s lead author Dr David Jenkins, Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital and University Professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences and Medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada.

“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,” he said.

However, the study did find that folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke. Meanwhile, niacin and antioxidants showed a very small effect that might signify an increased risk of death from any cause.

“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 added.

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

“A healthy balanced and varied diet will provide your body with all of the vitamins and minerals you need in most cases,"

Sarah Noone, Dietitian, Irish Heart Foundation

According to Sarah Noone, expert dietitian with the Irish Heart Foundation, while specific groups of the population such as pregnant women, young children and the elderly, may need supplements they are not generally required for most of the population unless they have been prescribed by a doctor.

“A wide range of supplements are available on the market some of which make health claims however the benefits of supplements have not been backed up by strong evidence. None of the most recent guidance recommends the use of dietary supplements for the prevention or management of heart disease and stroke,” Sarah warned.

“A healthy balanced and varied diet will provide your body with all of the vitamins and minerals you need in most cases. If you’re thinking about taking a supplement that hasn’t been prescribed, talk to your doctor before spending money and make sure not to exceed your daily requirements,” she concluded.

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,

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dietitian healthy eating heart disease high blood pressure nutrition Obesity stroke

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