Nutrients from food, not vitamin supplements, reduces risk of early death

Vitamins from Food — Not Supplements — Linked with Longer Life

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 75% of US adults take a dietary supplement of some kind.

Getting enough nutrients from food reduces risk of death, not the same could be said for nutrients in pill form. In fact, they didn't need supplements at all to meet their daily requirements for vitamins and minerals.

Researchers looked at responses from nearly 31,000 adults who answered questions on dietary supplement use from the National Health and Nutrition Health Survey. People want to be healthy, yet we've got a constant stream of conflicting research about what's healthy and what's not (although the science on supplements has been pretty consistent) - so why not double down by taking vitamins? However, the researchers caution that more research is necessary to determine whether there's a link.

During the study period, about 3,600 people died; and of these, 945 died from heart disease and 805 died from cancer.

The study also showed that some supplements pose a risk to one's health.

After they adjusted for factors like education and demographics, they found there is no positive connection between supplements and a longer life.

Zhang and her colleagues found a lower risk of death from any cause among those who consumed adequate amounts of vitamin K and magnesium, and a lower risk of cardiovascular death among those with adequate intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K and zinc.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers analysed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data on supplements such as multivitamins, vitamin C, and calcium - which the study participants took - along with info on the foods they ate.

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"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", Zhang said.

An adequate intake of vitamin A, K and zinc indicated a lower risk of deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

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.

Those that mentioned that they had used dietary supplements had been requested for particulars, together with how typically they took the merchandise.

Experts suggest the findings add to growing evidence that supplements can not be used as "insurance", and that diet and lifestyle are key to health.

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.

"Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren't seen with supplements", said Zhang.

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