Healthy Diet Can't Be Replaced by Vitamins, Supplements

12 April, 2019, 07:08 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Calcium supplements linked to cancer in major study

The objective of this research, from Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in the U.S. state of MA, was to evaluate the link between use of dietary supplements, the level of nutrients obtained from food and supplements, and mortality in adults in the US.

Nutrient intake from foods was also assessed using 24-hour diet recalls conducted by trained interviewers.

Consuming too many nutrients, particularly when they come from supplements, may increase the risk of death, new research shows.

The study showed that more than half of the participants of the study had reported using dietary supplements, while 38.3% reported using a multivitamin and mineral supplements. As well as, throughout a family interview, they answered whether or not they had used any dietary supplements within the earlier 30 days.

"As potential benefits and harms of supplement use continue to be studied, some studies have found associations between excess nutrient intake and adverse outcomes, including increased risk of certain cancers", Fang Fang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., senior author and associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, says in a statement.

Additionally, while calcium intake of at least 1,000 mg per day was linked to an increased risk of cancer mortality, no such link was found when calcium was sourced from food.

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 75% of adults take dietary supplements.


Roughly 34 per cent of British people take health supplements daily, while the figure in the United States is closer to the 50 per cent mark.

The findings suggested that "adequate nutrient intake from foods was associated with reduced mortality, [while] excess intake from supplements could be harmful", the researchers concluded.

By analyzing adequate and excess nutrient intake, the scientists determined whether they are linked to death from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. And those whose diet had enough of vitamins A and K, copper, and zinc cut the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by half.

'This study also confirms the importance of identifying the nutrient source when evaluating mortality outcomes'. For each nutrient, the daily supplement dose was calculated by combining the frequency with the product information for ingredient, amount of ingredient per serving, and ingredient unit. This could altogether eliminate the need to have additional nutritional supplements.

'You can't turn a bad diet into a good diet with handful of pills'. The ones that had used supplements had to give more details about it.

'Supplementing some vitamins and/or minerals can benefit those at risk (e.g. folic acid in pregnancy) or who may benefit for specific medical reasons (such as osteoporosis). But with an abundance of uncertainty and a lack of evidence for supplements, Zhang says the average person should just eat a balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, rather than turning to over-the-counter solutions.

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