Chill with the pills: Dietary supplements may not be as good as you think

Now some supplements, especially ones that focus on certain aspects of health like vitamin C tablets, pretty much do their job (based on my personal experiences)…or do they? Things have gotten a bit shady with some supplements based on new research. Doctors from John Hopkins Medicine may have found groundbreaking evidence that could change how we view supplements forever.

A dietary supplement can be a pill, liquid or any form of vitamin or mineral that is supposed to help supply nutrients to the body (hence the name). While a lot of these supplements do provide these vitamins and minerals, many also promise to have a direct impact on certain organs. Some boast about boosting heart health, memory boosting, and so on. However, research is showing that some of these combinations aren't as safe as we think. For the most part, supplements aren't making your health worse, but they aren't necessarily living up to their promises either.

The new research from John Hopkins is summarized by ScienceDaily as this: “In a massive new analysis of findings from 277 clinical trials using 24 different interventions, researchers say they have found that almost all vitamin, mineral and other nutrient supplements or diets cannot be linked to longer life or protection from heart disease.”

The research utilized 992,129 research participants worldwide, so it was pretty comprehensive. ScienceDaily wrote: “The majority of the supplements including multivitamins, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D alone, calcium alone and iron showed no link to increased or decreased risk of death or heart health.” These supplements being some of the most common ones, is, therefore, a cause for concern for people who pop these pills regularly. Here's what's even more important from these findings.

A healthy diet is better than supplement taking

The study also showed that eating healthy, having low salt diets and getting the vitamins and minerals naturally were more effective. It is therefore evident that we need to consider that the easy way out, isn't always best. Alarmingly, some supplements were even allegedly linked to a slight increase in stroke risk.

As research continues, knowledge evolves. Supplements may get better over time, but for now, the natural way may be the best to go. This study could have also been affected by other factors, so more research should be done. You may or may not be a student of science, but what you should know is that one study should not shape your final opinions. It is also important to do concurrent studies and read widely as health technology is improved. For now, let's listen to our friends from Johns Hopkins and just try to eat healthier.

-- Fabrizio Darby



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