Johns Hopkins led a sizeable research effort analyzing 277 clinical trials based on 24 different vitamin and supplemental interventions. The research team cannot link supplements or diets to a longer life or protection from heart disease.
Although the team determined that no harm appears to result from a plethora of vitamins, minerals and other nutrient supplements or diets, they also didn’t find the direct link to an extension of life or reduction in heart disease, reports Science Daily. The analysis did reveal possible health benefits for the following:
- Low-salt diet
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Folic acid supplements for some people
Interestingly, the meta-analysis revealed that some supplements combining calcium and vitamin D may in fact be linked to a slight increase in stroke risk. The study results were published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The results of the research suggest adults start redirecting their spending from supplements to nutritious balanced foods in combination with a commitment to frequent exercise.
CDC surveys reveal that 52% of Americans take at least one vitamin or other dietary/nutritional supplement daily. According to the Science Daily summary, Americans spend $31 billion annually on over-the-counter health supplement products from vitamins to minerals. According to other reports, the current market for dietary supplements alone is $101.2 billion.
The Johns Hopkins team used data from 277 randomized clinical trials that evaluated 16 vitamins or other supplements and eight diets for their association with mortality or heart conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack. The meta-analysis incorporated data gathered on 992,129 research participants worldwide.
Senior Author Comment
Erin D. Michos, MD, MHS, associate director of preventative cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, commented “The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there,” and Dr. Michos conveyed “People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements.”
Erin D. Michos, MD, MHS, associate director of preventative cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, associate professor Johns Hopkins University
Safi U. Khan, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, West Virginia University