Every day, millions of people take vitamin and mineral supplements to delay the possible onset of disease or simply to feel more healthy. However, new research is finding some of the most popular dietary supplements likely have no effect at all.
Per a Forbes report, most of the vitamin and mineral supplements analyzed by researchers had no measurable benefit on a person’s health. Commonly consumed supplements like multivitamins, vitamins C and D, and calcium do not lessen or increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or early death.
The joint study from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, Canada, looked at health data from previous studies of patients that were given several different supplements, including vitamins A, B, and C, as well as calcium, iron, beta-carotene, and selenium. Other data analyzed involved participants that were given multivitamins or antioxidant supplements. The team then compared how these people fared against disease and death.
“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, per a report from Eureka Alert. “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.”
While the supplements in the study had no impact on a person’s long-term health, B vitamins, in particular, were the exception. Vitamin B9 (folic acid) seems to lower the chance of heart disease. The study suggested other B vitamins may also reduce the risk of stroke. Interestingly, B3 (niacin) and some antioxidant supplements apparently increase the risk of death from any cause.
The dietary supplement industry is big business. Nearly half of the U.S. population takes some type of pill daily that promises preventative health benefits. Over 30 percent of Americans take a multivitamin, 19 percent take vitamin D, 14 percent take calcium, and vitamin C is taken by 12 percent of the population.
This recent study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reinforces a growing volume of evidence that vitamin and mineral supplements do not provide any significant health benefits. While some can help people suffering from diagnosed deficiencies, current indications do not support claims supplements will keep chronic illnesses at bay.