Vitamin supplements don't help people live longer, study finds

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There was no cancer death risk increase linked with calcium intake acquired from food rather than pills.

Researchers studied 30,000 people for more than a decade to reach this conclusion. Further research on this potential connection is needed.

"Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren't seen with supplements", said Zhang.

"However, we'd like additional analysis to take a look at lengthy-time period use of dietary supplements". In addition, prevalence and dosage of dietary supplement use was self-reported and so is subject to recall bias. One 2015 study estimated that unsafe or improperly taken supplements, including those for weight loss, send more than 23,000 Americans to the emergency room each year. After that, a household interview was held, and they had to answer whether or not they had used any vitamin supplements in the previous 30 days.

The participants included in Zhang's study all had filled out a 24-hour food questionnaire twice.

By analyzing adequate and excess nutrient intake, the scientists determined whether they are linked to death from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. "It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the affect might not be beneficial".

Other supplements can cause harm.

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Another study has warned that vitamin supplements probably aren't an adequate substitute for a poor diet - and, in fact, at least one popular supplement may increase cancer death risk.

The study used a nationally representative sample comprised of data from more than 27,000 US adults ages 20 and older to evaluate the association between dietary supplement use and death from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer. The new research indicates that supplements don't help to reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer or death, though getting nutrients directly from food does.

When sources of nutrients (food vs. Supplement) were evaluated, the researchers found that an adequate intake of vitamin K and magnesium from foods, not from supplements had a lower risk of deaths.

Dr. Rekha Kumar, an endocrinologist, wasn't surprised by the finding that people consuming healthy diets lived longer and that supplements didn't seem to extend life.

One thing that the researchers can not say is whether the association is between the nutrients themselves or other components in the foods, Zhang said.

"I don't think you can undo the effect of a bad diet by taking supplements", said Kumar, an assistant professor of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.

However, no link was found between increased consumption of foods containing calcium and the disease.