Food better than supplements for longevity

Henrietta Brewer
April 12, 2019

"Based on the totality of evidence, it's becoming more and more clear that the regular use of dietary supplements is not beneficial in reducing the risk of mortality among the general population in the USA", said study coauthor Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

In 2015, only 12.2 percent of Americans met the recommendations for eating fruit, and just 9.3 percent ate enough vegetables - even though eating enough fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Instead, researchers recommend getting nutrients from food.

Researchers found that supplemental doses of calcium exceeding 1,000 mg per day are linked to an increased risk of cancer death.


Taking calcium supplements may double the risk of dying from cancer, a new study suggests. There was no association between dietary supplement use and a lower risk of death. They found that insufficient intakes of magnesium and vitamin K were associated with lower risk of death.

It is necessary to have a balanced diet comprising a healthy mix of all nutrients in the form of fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, legumes and other foods.

Lead scientist Dr Fang Fang Zhang, from Tufts University, said: "It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the effect might not be beneficial". While certain nutrients may contribute to a longer life, they need to come from a food source, the study found.


There was also a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality when adequate intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K, and zinc were sourced from food over dietary supplements. People want to be healthy, yet we've got a constant stream of conflicting research about what's healthy and what's not (although the science on supplements has been pretty consistent) - so why not double down by taking vitamins?

To calculate the daily supplement dose of each nutrient, the frequency and the product information for ingredient, amount of ingredient per serving, and ingredient unit were combined. "It would also be worth exploring whether supplements might be helpful among those who have nutritional deficiencies".

She said: 'Research on diet is increasingly looking at the effects on health of dietary patterns, rather than isolated nutrients, and it's clear that it's the diet as a whole and not single nutrients in isolation that can have the greatest beneficial impact on health'. Intriguingly, complement customers had been extra seemingly than others to have increased ranges of training and household earnings, eat a nutritious diet and be bodily lively. The problem found in a study from the University of Birmingham in 2018, is that vitamin and mineral supplements don't protect you from heart disease.


'The latter are not generally an effective substitute for, or supplement to, the former'.

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