A recent research study conducted by the association of St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto has raised glaring doubts on the credibility of vitamins and minerals that thousands intake daily as supplements. The supplements examined included vitamins A, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), C, D, E, beta-carotene, and the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
The researchers' advice? You guessed it - start eating more fruits and vegetables to get your vitamins the natural way instead of being a pillhead.
"The results of vitamin supplementation trials have been disappointing at best, despite having a solid mechanistic basis", the authors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Among the downfalls that the authors acknowledged was their findings may be skewed by the fact that most people who take health supplements are generally more conscious about their well-being and may not be representative of the general population.
Study leaders say they were surprised there are so few benefits to these popular supplements.
MacKay added that consumers should be aware that cardiovascular disease "is multifactorial and can not be prevented by dietary supplements in isolation".
The only one vitamin which shows some benefits as a heart diseases protection is folic acid. The study suggested other B vitamins may also reduce the risk of stroke.
But some others, like niacin and antioxidants, could actually cause harm.
The antioxidants in vitamin supplements can even be a little harmful. They noted that 111 people needed to take regular supplements of folic acid in order to prevent one case of heart disease or stroke.
"There are big health benefits from a mostly plant-based diet", said Jenkins, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.
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