Big Data Show No Link Between Vitamin Supplement Intake and Better Health

Big Data

Vitamin supplements. / Photo by: Alexandr Parfenov via 123RF


A systematic review of existing data found on 1,496 studies published from January 2012 to October 2017 did not produce enough evidence to show that vitamin and mineral supplements can prevent heart attacks, cerebral strokes, and premature deaths. That is the finding of a study done by researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto. Results of the study have been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, according to the Science Daily. 

The research team reviewed supplement data on vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. The term "multivitamin" is used to describe supplements that include not a few but most vitamins and minerals.

Dr. David Jenkins, lead author of the study, said there was no apparent advantage gained by ingesting multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C. The only good news that using such supplements is that they pose no harm to people, Dr. Jenkins added. He advised people to be aware of the supplements that they are taking and to ensure that these will cover up the vitamin or mineral deficiencies that they have been diagnosed with by their healthcare providers. 

Dr. Jenkins pointed out that in the absence of significant positive data over the supposed benefits derived from taking vitamin and mineral supplements, consumers should just rely on a healthy diet to get their daily dose of vitamins and minerals. He added that no research on health supplements has shown anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

The study found out that folic acid, either taken alone or with vitamin-B complex, reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease and stroke. However, niacin and antioxidants can increase the risk of dying from any cause.