The alphabet soup of multivitamins and supplements loaded on the shelves of pharmacies is huge. A huge number of options can have a tilting effect, creating the madness of buying.
According to the lobbying group “Center for Responsible Nutrition”, food additives have grown into an industry worth 122 billion dollars. But new research questions how effective these pills are. A new comprehensive meta-analysis of 277 clinical trials has shown that a wide range of nutritional supplements — and even some common diets — are not effective in preventing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Moreover, they will not help to prolong a person’s life either.
“There is no panacea or magic bullet that people continue to search for in food supplements,” says a press release from the study’s senior author Erin D. Mikhos, M.D., M.H.S.
In a large-scale study, 277 randomized clinical trials were collected from around the world, evaluating the effectiveness of 16 vitamins and other supplements, as well as eight different diets. The researchers looked at this data to see how supplements and diets affect the risk of heart disease, such as heart attacks and coronary heart disease, as well as how they affect mortality among participants. Overall, the meta-analysis included data from more than 992,000 people around the world — an impressive sample size, to say the least.
Researchers evaluated a wide range of supplements, including antioxidants, multivitamins, folic acid, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B3, B-complex, C, E, D, and others. They also honed some popular diets, including the Mediterranean diet, a low-fat diet, and a low-salt diet. Surprisingly, almost all supplements and most diets do not affect heart health and do not affect mortality.
Several diets have shown a positive effect on heart health. Researchers have found that among people with healthy blood pressure, a low-salt diet reduces the risk of death for participants by 10 percent. They also found that when people with high blood pressure followed a low-salt diet, the risk of death from heart disease decreased by 33 percent.
The vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and various types of diets did not have a noticeable effect on survival or reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Of the 16 studied drugs, two additives stood out for their effectiveness. The first, omega-3 fatty acidcreated a slight decrease in the risk of heart attack (by 8 percent) and the development of coronary heart disease (by 7 percent). Second, folic acid, was associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk of stroke, but the researchers suggested that this was because the participants were from China, where the grains are not enriched with folic acid, as in the United States. effective in America, since most people already get folic acid, say, from a morning bowl of cereal.
Meta-analysis even revealed a combination of supplements that had negative health effects. Together, calcium and Vitamin D The supplements actually increased the risk of stroke by 17 percent, based on an analysis of health data from more than 42,000 study participants.
“Although there may be some evidence that several interventions have an impact on the death and health of the cardiovascular system, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and various types of diets did not have a noticeable effect on survival or reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases,” Safi U. Khan MD, lead author of the study, said in a press release.
The news comes as supplements continue to be popular among people who want to stay healthy. According to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association52 percent of Americans take dietary supplements, and a press release says Americans spend $ 31 billion a year on non-prescription supplements. But the data show that they have little or no effect on some of the most serious health risks that Americans face.
“People need to focus on getting their nutrients from a healthy diet,” said Michos, “because data increasingly show that most healthy adults do not need to take supplements.”