Not enough health benefits in vitamin supplements, study says

Calcium supplements linked to cancer in major study

Calcium supplements linked to cancer in major study

Now, a study has highlighted how getting adequate nutrients from food sources is more beneficial than consuming supplements.

"As potential benefits and harms of supplement use continue to be studied, some studies have found associations between excess nutrient intake and adverse outcomes, including increased risk of certain cancers", said Fang Fang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and senior and corresponding author on the study.

A new studyshows that taking regular vitamins and dietary supplements are not enough to keep you healthy. "So we should go with what the dietary recommendations suggest to achieve adequate nutrition from food, rather than relying on supplements", he said.

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 75% of adults take dietary supplements.

In this study, participants were asked whether they had used any dietary supplements in the previous 30 days. Though some nutrients have been linked to lower mortality risk in general, you'll need to get those nutrients from actual food, not pills and powders, to reap the benefits.

The team used data from over 27,000 adults in the United States, all of whom were aged 20 years old or older.

Excess intake of calcium was associated with higher risk of death from cancer. This includes calcium from supplements. After that adjustment, the connection between supplements and longevity disappeared.

They showed that adequate consumption of vitamins A and K, as well as magnesium and zinc, reduced the risk of death.

In fact, some supplements even appeared to come with health risks.

They also discovered that too much calcium was linked to an increased risk of cancer death, which they found was associated with supplemental doses of calcium exceeding 1,000 mg/day.

The researchers assessed whether adequate or excess nutrient intake was associated with death and whether intake from food versus supplement sources had any effect on the associations. However, the researchers caution that more research is necessary to determine whether there's a link.

In addition, there was evidence that unnecessary consumption of vitamin D supplements by individuals who were not deficient in the vitamin might increase the risk of death from any cause.

"However, we'd like additional analysis to take a look at lengthy-time period use of dietary supplements". Also, supplements don't seem to extend your life. In addition, prevalence and dosage of dietary supplement use was self-reported and so is subject to recall bias.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not hold supplements to the same standards as conventional foods or drugs, so manufacturers are responsible for handling safety testing and labeling themselves; the FDA only steps in when there's an issue with a product already being sold.

One thing that the researchers can not say is whether the association is between the nutrients themselves or other components in the foods, Zhang said.

"Over half of Americans use these, and the reason is to improve or maintain health", Zhang says. "That mindset needs to be changed, given the evidence".