According to a survey conducted by the US Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 75 percent of U.S. individuals take dietary supplements. This data reveals that dietary supplements are considered essential modern-day health and wellness regimens.
Vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and various enzymes are considered dietary supplements. These are sold in different forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids. Common dietary supplements include calcium, fish oil, and vitamin A and C. Taking supplements leads to an increased level of total nutrient intake. Which could be lethal and lead to various disorders if our body is not deficient of those nutrients?
A study (Link to research paper) by a group of researchers found that, while folic acid alone and B vitamins with folic acid may reduce the risk of cardio vascular disease, multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C show no advantage in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases or premature death.
The team conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between dietary supplement use and all-cause mortality. They published their results in the journal of Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study used data from more than 27,000 adults to evaluate if excess nutrient intake was linked to all-cause mortality, and whether results changed if the nutrients came from supplements instead of food.
Their findings surprised the supplements industry, “some studies have found associations between excess nutrient intake and adverse outcomes, including increased risk of certain cancers.”
Here are some of the key findings:
- Adequate intakes of vitamin A, K, zinc, and micronutrients from natural food sources and not from dietary supplements, were linked to a lower risk of death.
- Excess intake of calcium was associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer.
- Excess intake of calcium from supplements (at least 1,000 milligrams per day) was associated with an increased risk of death from cancer.
- Adequate intakes of vitamins from natural food sources were associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
- People with no sign of vitamin D deficiency who use vitamin D supplements may have an increased risk of all-cause mortality.
Although more research on this potential connection is needed, but one thing that is important to understand is that we should be careful in our using of dietary supplements.
Dietary supplements should not replace complete meals, which are essential to nurturing the body. Talking to healthcare providers before making the decision about whether to take supplements is a good practice. Doctors can help people achieve a balance between nutrients from food and supplements.
Many supplements also contain active ingredients that may have strong biological effects. Any of the following actions could be harmful or even life-threatening: combining supplements, mixing supplements with medicines, or taking too much of some supplements, especially vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron.
Dietary supplements are called “supplements” for a reason. They are meant to be taken with regular diet. The common misconception that, if we just take a multivitamin every day, then we can have chips and soda or whatever is busted.
Another item worth noting is most supplements are water soluble, any excess of it will generally pass in the urine and won’t cause a dangerous build-up in body, but some vitamins such as D and A are fat soluble and can build up in the body and may lead to various overdose disorders.
If your doctor says you’re low in magnesium, take magnesium. This is the actual purpose for supplements - to supplement our normal diet when needed.