Money-wasting! Most Vitamins & Mineral Supplements Are Useless
The scientists also pointed out that multivitamins should not be taken as an alternative to a balanced diet, nor should they be eaten in a blind way, which could cause disease or even increase the risk of death.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are a staple in many people’s diets, but there is increasing evidence to suggest the most popular ones are essentially useless.
A new systematic review of data and trials published between January 2012 and October 2017 found that many popular multivitamins – as well as vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium supplements – had no real advantage to people’s health and that there was no evidence taking them reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or early death.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, was led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto.
Niacin (a form of vitamin B3) and antioxidants, meanwhile, were associated with a higher risk of death by any cause, albeit a very small increase.
The researchers say these higher risks could be related to niacin’s adverse effects on blood-sugar levels, or that when taken in high doses, antioxidants can be harmful.
Alternatively, it could have something to do with people sometimes thinking that taking vitamins can be a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.
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.
The vitamins the team reviewed were A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D, and E, as well as carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.
Research has found that some vitamins are more useful than others. For example, zinc has been linked to shortening the effects of a cold – something vitamin C doesn’t do, despite what people think.
Vitamin D can also be difficult to get from food, so if you’re deficient, supplements may also be effective.