Supplements Can't Replace a Healthy Diet

Vast majority of vitamins do not improve health, study says

If you’re taking dietary supplements to improve your health, your efforts could be in vain. 

» RELATED: Nutrients from food, not supplements, will help you live longer, study says

Researchers from John Hopkins Medicine recently conducted a study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, to explore the association between dietary supplements, heart health, and mortality.

To do so, they gathered data from 277 randomized clinical trials that evaluated 16 vitamins or other supplements, including iron, multivitamins and vitamins B6, C, D, and E. They tested whether the supplements were linked with mortality or heart conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.

After analyzing the result, they found the majority of the supplements showed no link to increased or decreased risk of death or heart health.

However, the team noted a low-salt diet may reduce risk of death for those with healthy blood pressure and the risk of heart disease for those with high blood pressure. 

They also said omega-3 fatty acid supplements may slightly decrease heart attack risk, and folic acid may reduce the possibility of stroke. 

» RELATED: Are child multivitamins misleading? Scientists concerned about vitamin D dosage

“Our analysis carries a simple message that although there may be some evidence that a few interventions have an impact on death and cardiovascular health, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and different types of diets had no measurable effect on survival or cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” lead author Safi Khan said in a statement.

Although the scientists said the supplements are not harmful, it’s best to get your nutrients from a heart-healthy diet. The majority of healthy adults do not need supplements, the researchers said. 

“The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements,” said senior author Erin Michos, “isn’t there.”

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

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