Most popular vitamins, mineral supplements provide little health benefits, study says

The research evaluated vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as supplements including calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium

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Do you take your vitamins daily? The pills may not be as beneficial as you think, according to a new report.

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Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto recently conducted an analysis, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, to determine the effects of vitamins and mineral supplements.

To do so, they reviewed existing data published between 2012 to 2017. The trials included information on vitamins A, B3, B9, C, D and E, as well as supplements including calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They defined “multivitamin” as tablets that contained most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.

After analyzing the results, they found that multivitamins, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin D, the most common supplements, were not advantageous. They do not further prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death, the analysts revealed.

While they said B vitamins with folic acid may decrease cardiovascular disease and stroke risk, B9 and antioxidants provide no protection against diseases of any kind.

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“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” lead author David Jenkins, said in a statement. “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.”

Arshed Quyyumi, a cardiology expert at Emory University, was not shocked by the conclusions, which he said were similar to previous findings.

“People take them, because there is a lot of pressure from alternative sources, which is not evidence-based,” said Quyyumi, who was not a part of the analysis. “I’m not sure what the benefits of vitamins are, because we’ve never had any studies on it. We don’t know what happens over 30 years. All we know is what happens in a short period of time.”

In the meantime, the scientists said it’s best to rely on a healthy diet to get your dose of vitamins and minerals

For example, oranges contain vitamin C, potassium and other nutrients “you’re never going to get provide from a pill,” Quyyumi said.

“The vitamin name comes from the essential things you must have to have normal cellular functions,” Quyyumi added. “If you have a normal diet, you won’t end up with a deficiency.”

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