Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds

A new study suggests that three of the most popular vitamins and supplements provide no consistent health benefits nor do they cause harm

Vitamin and mineral supplements are a staple in many people's diets, but there is increasing evidence to suggest the most popular ones are essentially useless.

Commonly consumed supplements like multivitamins, vitamins C and D, and calcium do not lessen or increase a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or early death.

Dietary supplement industry associations are pushing back on negative conclusions drawn from a new meta-analysis on efficacy of vitamins and minerals for preventing cardiovascular disease.

Folic acid and B-vitamins were associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, as per the study, Vitamin B3 as well as Vitamin A, C and E showed a link to increased chances of death.

A recent research study conducted by the association of St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto has raised glaring doubts on the credibility of vitamins and minerals that thousands intake daily as supplements.

Instead of supplements, researchers suggest implementing a healthy diet.

But before you go tossing all your supplements in the trash, there's a tiny bit of good news to be found in the data as well.

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The most popular pills, including vitamin C and calcium, don't really have major health benefits.

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.

Reference Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals for CVD Prevention and Treatment.

"The latest research of vitamins and heart disease risk is neither unexpected nor surprising", he said in a statement. "This review concluded that money spent on vitamin and antioxidant supplements is not only wasted, but could occasionally be harmful". They noted that 111 people needed to take regular supplements of folic acid in order to prevent one case of heart disease or stroke.

But some others, like niacin and antioxidants, could actually cause harm.

Limitations of the review include: the researchers did not consider data from cohort studies, which are longer and more representative of the general population than randomized clinical trials.

"Folic acid administration and the reduction of cardiovascular disease through stroke seen in the Chinese [clinical] trial provides the only example of cardiovascular disease risk reduction by supplement use in the period following the Preventive Services Task Recommendation", said Jenkins.

The authors recommend eating a more plant-based diet with less processed food.

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