A recent survey on nutrition in Australia reported 29% of the people to have consumed at least one dietary supplement in their life. The number had been more significant in the United States, which is 52%.
According to a new study which aims to delve into the various benefits of mineral and vitamin supplement in preventing stroke, heart disease found that the common ones did not affect, while the less common ones didn’t have any effect. As per the review, some supplements can also be harmful.
What Does the Study have to Say?
This study is a systematic review, which means that the researching team examined the relevant research paper, which was 179 in total, and then combined the results. The supplements which had been observed in the study were vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, D, and e along with beta-carotene, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, and magnesium. Multivitamins include most of these minerals and vitamins.
Studies that tested four common supplements of multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium did not see any reduction in stroke, heart disease, or even premature death. Hence, it implies, it doesn’t have any benefit but also doesn’t cause any harm.
The study also includes an evaluation of supplements that are less common and have an impact on early death, stroke, and heart disease. It has been found that supplements of folic acid can reduce the chances of stroke or heart disease.
According to the calculations of the study, for preventing a case of heart disease, 111 people will have to take folic acid supplements, while for stroke, 167 people will have to consume folic acid supplements for preventing a case. And about 250 need to consume B-complex vitamins for preventing one case.
Hold on, before you head to store to get your folic acid supplement, there are some things you need to be careful about. Firstly, a high level of folic acid content in your blood might increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, even if the results are mixed.
Secondly, the study that tested the supplements of folic acid concluded that stroke reduced in just 2 of the seven gold standard studies, which were known as randomized controlled trials. In one of these studies, 20000 Chinese people took part. China is a country that doesn’t have food containing folic acid, but in Australia, it is added to breakfast cereals and loaves of bread.
Albeit folic acid was concluded to have little benefits, researchers also saw that it had some adverse effects. If you take a statin for lowering your cholesterol level, extended or slow release of vitamin B3 can increase the risk of suffering an early death by 10%. It means about 200% will have to consume niacin and statins before you notice a first death case.
The studies that tested the antioxidant supplement showed that there is an increased risk of suffering an early death. Vitamin D is the most studied supplement. Experts have found that it doesn’t have any benefits when it comes to heart disease. This is unexpected as Vitamin D is consumed for other conditions like diabetes. However, it doesn’t have an advantage when it comes to reducing the chances of early death. Albeit, the authors of the study, has stated that long follow-ups might be required.
What Does it Imply?
The authors of the study concluded that is low-moderate evidence when it comes to consuming folic acid for stroke or heart disease. This is also the case with B-complex vitamins.
A majority of the western countries do not have an optimal diet. The review has seen that consuming supplements taking it to be an insurance policy against unhealthy dietary habits might not work. If it had, we would have seen a significant reduction in the percentage of early death.
We should not forget the fact that consuming a supplement is much different than having whole foods. Health problems or any complications because of the intake of nutrients are mainly because of consuming supplements and not having a proper diet. If you concentrate on just one mineral, nutrient, or mineral in supplement, you are going to miss out on phytonutrients, which are to be found in plant-based food, which have a good impact on your overall health.
The rise in the number of early death for consuming some supplements should have served as a wakeup call and should have introduced regulations that are required around supplements. Moreover, people need to be encouraged to eat better.
Nutrient-rich whole food like vegetables, fruits, and whole-grains offer several health benefits in comparison to dietary supplements.
- Whole food has several micronutrients that work together and offers more perks that they usually provide when taken individually as supplements.
- Several whole foods are rich in dietary fiber. If your diet is rich in fiber, it will help in treating many health conditions such as heart disease and constipation.
- Some food contains phytochemicals. These substances help in protecting against diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and various other health conditions.
Do You Require Additional Nutrients?
A majority of the people get the required minerals and vitamins when they maintain a well-balanced diet containing vegetables, fruits, lean sources of protein, and whole grains. However, some people tend to have special nutritional requirements, and these cannot be fulfilled just by a diet. In a case like these, you might have to take a supplement. However, it is better to consult your doctor before you do so.
It can be concluded, taking vitamin supplements might be beneficial in some cases. However, there is little evidence to suggest that consuming mineral and vitamin supplement has the possibility of making you healthier. It is better to talk to your doctor before adding any supplement to your routine. In case you were taking supplements rather than vegetables and fruits, it is better to think about it. You should not ever forget that nothing can substitute a healthy diet.