Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Those Expensive Vitamins You Take Might Not Be Helping You Live Longer

Those Expensive Vitamins You Take Might Not Be Helping You Live Longer

While getting the right nutrients in the right quantities from food was associated with a longer life, the same wasn't true for nutrients from supplements, says study co-author Fang Fang Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. And ultimately, the research has found only associations and does not prove that certain nutrients in foods lengthen life.

In addition to the excessive calcium risk link, the study also found evidence that taking vitamin D supplements if you don't have a deficiency may increase the risk of death.

The study used a nationally representative sample comprised of data from more than 27,000 US adults ages 20 and older to evaluate the association between dietary supplement use and death from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer. There was no association between dietary supplement use and a lower risk of death.

Taking supplements, the study authors found, didn't translate to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any cause for that matter. However, extracting such nutrients and consuming them in the form of dietary supplements confers no such benefit, according to the new study.

Lead scientist Dr Fang Fang Zhang, said: 'It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the effect might not be beneficial.

When considering nutrient intake alone and the associated risk of death, researchers found that adequate intake of vitamin K and magnesium were linked to lower mortality risk, and adequate intake of vitamin A, vitamin K, and zinc were linked to a lower risk of CVD mortality.

Certain supplements were identified to pose specific risks, such as excess calcium being associated with an increased risk of cancer mortality.

US Attorney General Expected to Face Mueller Report Questions
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said he would be satisfied hearing only from Barr and not Mueller. Mueller was given the opportunity to review that four-page letter but declined to do so, Barr said.

To calculate the daily supplement dose of each nutrient, the frequency and the product information for ingredient, amount of ingredient per serving, and ingredient unit were combined. In addition, prevalence and dosage of dietary supplement use was self-reported and so is subject to recall bias.

The association between a lower risk of death and nutrients consumed in foods remained significant even after those factors were accounted for.

She said: 'Research on diet is increasingly looking at the effects on health of dietary patterns, rather than isolated nutrients, and it's clear that it's the diet as a whole and not single nutrients in isolation that can have the greatest beneficial impact on health'.

'You can't turn a bad diet into a good diet with handful of pills'.

Roughly 90% of American adults do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but many are trying to make up for it by popping pills.

As for the finding that high levels of calcium might shorten life, Kumar advises people to get as much calcium from their diet as possible.

'The latter are not generally an effective substitute for, or supplement to, the former'.

Like this: