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Many vitamin and mineral supplements show no benefits for health: review

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A new Canadian review has found that many of the most commonly used vitamin and mineral supplements do not have any benefits for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or mortality.
Led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, the review looked at 179 randomized control trials published between January 2012 and December 2017 which had investigated the effects of the most common supplements on the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or premature death.
Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E, as well as β-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium were all included in the review, along with multi-vitamins, which were defined in this study as being supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than just a select few.
The team found that in general, the popular supplements had no beneficial effect on health outcomes, although they were not found to be harmful to health either.
“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said Dr. David Jenkins, the study’s lead author. “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.”
Only folic acid taken alone and B-vitamins with folic acid were found to have a potentially preventative effect against cardiovascular disease and stroke, however the team pointed out that the quality of the evidence for this was low to moderate.
In addition, the team found that niacin and antioxidants had a very small effect which might actually 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.”
“So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts,” added Dr Jenkins.
The results can be found published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. (- Relaxnews)

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