Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds

Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds
The most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm, suggests a new study led by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto. Credit: St. Michael's Hospital

The most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm, suggests a new study led by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto.

Published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the systematic review of existing data and single randomized control trials published in English from January 2012 to October 2017 found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C—the most common supplements—showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death. Generally, vitamin and are taken to add to nutrients that are found in food.

"We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume," said Dr. David Jenkins, the study's lead author. "Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm—but there is no apparent advantage either."

The study found alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce and stroke. Meanwhile, niacin and antioxidants showed a very small effect that might signify an increased risk of death from any cause.

"These findings suggest that people should be conscious of the supplements they're taking and ensure they're applicable to the specific or deficiencies they have been advised of by their healthcare provider," Dr. Jenkins said.

His team reviewed data that included A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; and β-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. The term 'multivitamin' in this review was used to describe supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.

"In the absence of significant positive data—apart from folic acid's potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease—it's most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals," Dr. Jenkins said. "So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts."

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May 28, 2018
One must always watch for agenda 21 aspects of such thing as studies. Who publishes it what are the connections to industry and big pharma and so on.

There is a push to get all forms of personal supplements out of the hands of people in the west. This, so big pharma can benefit and reap billions upon billions more. Ie, to totally control people's access to health and health benefits.

Canada is a problem, due to generic medicine laws and regulations, which threatens Big pharma agenda , a model worth $500B/yr. And growing. Threatened, due to 5-10-20x lower prices for Canadian end users. Canadian law, it is.

Spending a few million here and there to find a way to get around humanitarian interests and put it squarely into the sociopaths who run the USA's big pharma, is not even a question. It is done, it is done every day.

EG, Very recently... a billionaire couple who run a generic drug firm in canada, were horrifically murdered, and it was ruled a suicide.


May 28, 2018
The Shermans.

It was originally ruled a suicide, until the family members resorted to private investigators and the police ended up having to rule it a murder. Forced into ruling it a murder.

So, not as clean a thing as you might imagine, this idea of 'supplements doing squat', is it?

There's $500B, and over 2-3-4 years ....$Trillions at stake. Unbelievably huge profits.

Besides the control for entire societies and cultures that is in the mix.

Would anyone lie over that?

Would anyone kill over that?

And most importantly, would a newspaper, magazine, radio station, and website, all having their biggest advert customers being big pharma, would they aid and assist via behaviour?

Would anyone interested safeguarding $trillions and control as a pair of book ends, would they fund studies?

The answer is easy to see.

The answer that history consistently tells you has been true down through the ages.

Look with jaded and accusatory eyes, first and foremost.

May 28, 2018
A multivitamin won't really provide any benefits... usually because most of those can be gotten from foods in adequate amounts...
However, for Vitamin C and D, I disagree.
Vitamin D RDA was grossly miscalculated and needs to be at 10 000 IU daily (D3 of course).
This amount cannot be extracted from any food - only suntanning or supplements are viable, and there are several documented health benefits to these doses for Vitamin D in peer-review.

Additionally, Vitamin C, useful for prevention if taken in doses of 2 grams or more several times a day according to peer-review.
Also, recent peer-review confirmed Linus Paulings recommendations on using high dosages during sickness (10 grams and above until a person reaches bowel tolerance, and then dropping to about 2 grams every 2 hours).

I would like to see more details on these studies as posted here on medicalxpress. Such as what kind of multivitamins were used, the types of vitamins, dosages, etc.

May 29, 2018
As a 74 year old lifetime taker of vitamins and supplements, and a board certified holistic doctor, I say this study was woefully inadequate. The doses of standard issue vitamins are minimums. I find many including myself who need larger doses for best results-a custom dose if you will - for whatever is to be accomplished. I take 10,000 iu of D3 daily and keep my number over 100 [toxic is around 275] Viejth, R et. al. At that level it acts like the hormone it is and greatly enhances immunity. Mega dosing of vitamins can overcome genetic shortfall- proven in a few studies. And, most folks don't eat a varied diet to get all the nutrition they need.
To say they are of no value is an exercise in delusional and flawed research.

May 29, 2018
I agree with the " get your vitamins and minerals from healthy foods " philosophy , but at the same time we need to recognize the fact most soils in the US have been industrial farmed for decades and the nutritional content of various mineral and vitamins have diminished . Just lately I read about Magnesium being 30% less that it was 30-40 yrs ago . At the moment I can;t find the reference to this fact ,if I do I will repost the link .

May 29, 2018
I will be turning 66 next month. These vitamin studies come out about every two years, which means I have read close to thirty research articles explaining in many different words how useless vitamin supplements are.
60 years worth of results are all the same, vitamins do nothing, even a poor diet is better.I do not eat as well as I should, but I take no vitamins, nor do any of my extended family.
We are fine. Yes, this is anecdotal and means nothing by itself, but coupled with close to fifty scientific studies over the years that all say the same thing, well, I kinda think they may have a point.

May 29, 2018
@Deksman: You have a good point that this study doesn't do any direct research, but simply reviews a bunch of existing studies, so it would be more useful if they would post the details of these studies. I followed up to see the actual report, and it is pay-walled. I'm not going to pay $35 only to learn that the researcher didn't really provide the details you need.

I've probably read many of the original studies upon which this review is based. They were printed between 2012 and 2017, and summaries of many of these studies were published here in Medical Express. Probably the majority of these studies that I have seen were so flawed as to be useless or misleading, and many of the rest didn't give you enough facts to evaluate their quality.

May 29, 2018
Telling people that most multivitamin and mineral supplements provide no benefit, is strictly speaking wrong.
(see https://www.smith...49735/).
Vitamin D, especially, has been scientifically proven to increase lifespan. The study referenced above also states that incontrovertible scientific data exists to demonstrate the health benefits of probiotics, zinc, niacin and garlic.
If someone who is taking one or more of these supplements stops because he or she reads this article, they could endanger their health.
There is some logic confusion here too. To say that vitamin supplements "provide no consistent health benefit or harm" is obviously not correct; what would be correct would be to say "vitamin supplements are NOT KNOWN to provide consistent health benefits or harm". Perhaps they do harm people; perhaps they do help people. All we can say is that we haven't detected any benefit or harm.

May 29, 2018
As a PhD researcher in cellular level nutrition I call "Shenanigans." Dr. David Jenkins obviously has ties to the pharmaceutical industry or he is just plain stupid. I would believe the former is more likely.
If there is a deficiency in the body's nutritional need, and the mineral or supplement is in a correct form to be utilized by the body, then it will have the intended benefit.
We've graduated to the level of gross lies in research, paid lies and paid deception to the public by research even university sources. These people are not just "misinformation" ...they are criminals of the 1st order. They should be charged with crimes against humanity.

May 29, 2018
I'm copying my comment to earlier similar article -
In 70s there was a lot of research of vitamins, especially in the socialist block, where medical research was much more 'honest'. It was established on, so called, 'hard science' but not on 'commercial enterprise' as in the West. Unfortunately it is still not available online because of many reasons. United Nations all the time distributes vit A and other vitamins to kids in the 3id world. E.g. google - Vitamin A deficiency - UNICEF DATA. Why, if it's useless? Why pregnant women are prescribed vitamins by 'mainstream' Western doctors? Why multivitamins are included in ALL baby formulas? Why some conditions still can be treated only by vitamins? Campaign against vitamins, herbs and other 'natural' treatments started already some time ago. Who and why is funding it - only the question?

May 29, 2018
I believe that blanket conclusions such as "no benefit and no harm" are unwarranted. For example, I know a surprising number of people who refuse to eat almost all vegetables. Would you advise them to skip all vitamins and minerals? I wish specific information about the studies on which these conclusions are based would be available (without pay) since the conclusions are being disseminated widely. How is anyone supposed to evaluate the remarks?

Jun 05, 2018
I'm 81 (born 02/23/37) and run 2 miles every day weather permitting. I have taken multivitamins every day since released from the Marine Corps in 1965. I don't know if my health is any better or worse for for using supplements. I hope I'm doing right by my diet (mostly vegetarian but I do love fried chicken about once a month). Most of my Marine Corps buddies are dead and of the ones still living, most are in the V.A. hospitals (not due to combat injuries). If "big pharma" outlaws supplements I guess I'll be getting them from Canada because I don't intend to change my way of living.

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