Dietary Supplements Does Not Reduce Risk of Death

Dietary Supplements Does Not Reduce Risk of Death | HealthSoul

If you have a whole medicine cabinet full of dietary supplements, all claiming to support various areas of overall health, a new study has found you may be much better off turning to nutrient-dense foods.  

While many people turn to supplements in hopes of boosting nutrient reserves, whole foods, nutrient-dense diet is always the number one option. Let’s take a look at what this new study found and why a food first approach may be the best approach to reducing the risk of death related to chronic disease.

The Study 

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at what many of us want to know when we go to take our daily supplements. Researchers evaluated the nutrient intake from foods as well as supplements and the mortality among adults in the US.

In this particular study, participants were asked to answer questions about their dietary supplement use.

What the Study Showed

The study showed a connection between getting adequate amounts of vitamin A, K, magnesium, zinc, and copper and a reduced risk of mortality, but surprisingly, this connection was only associated with nutrients from foods, not supplements.

The study also found that getting too much calcium was linked to an increased risk of cancer, and a connection was made between an increased risk of cancer mortality and calcium supplementation.

Let's Take a Look at What New Studies Found About Supplements | HealthSoul

When Supplements Serve a Purpose 

So, what is this study telling us? Should we all stop taking our daily multi-vitamin and ditch all the other supplements we thought were supporting our health?

Not necessarily, as there are some things to keep in mind. It’s important to know that supplements do have a time and a place, especially if you are deficient in a certain nutrient. So, if you are prescribed a supplement for a specific nutrient deficiency you, of course, want to speak with your doctor about your concerns, and shouldn’t just stop taking it.

Another common situation where supplements do benefit health is someone who may follow a vegan diet and need to supplement with vitamin B12 or those who may be low on vitamin D since there aren’t too many natural food sources.

So, What’s the Problem With Supplements?

So, what’s the problem with supplements? For one, many supplements contain way more than we need, and many people turn to supplements first instead of focusing on a diet. The truth is that a good supplement can’t beat a nutrient-dense diet, so diet should always come first.

Another problem is that many supplements are loaded with fillers and artificial ingredients, which only adds to the inflammatory load on the body.

Choosing Diet first

Since diet should always come first when it comes to supporting overall health, here are some things to keep in mind to make sure that you are getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet to support overall health.

  • Add lots of color to your diet: Add lots of color to your diet by consuming a variety of fruits and veggies. These are loaded with important nutrients to support your nutrient reserves, boost gut health, and help you stay healthy.
  • Add superfoods to your diet: Superfoods like chia, flax, and hemp seeds are all excellent sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Things like dark leafy greens, raw cocoa nibs, and shredded unsweetened coconut also make excellent additions to a healthy diet and are nutrient powerhouses. Try adding some of these superfoods to your diet regularly to support better nourishment.
  • Enjoy healthy fats: Healthy fats are going to help support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Avocados are a great option because they are also rich in magnesium, and things like pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, and walnuts and wild-caught salmon are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Strive for balance: Ultimately, a healthy diet is going to include a balance of healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs. Try to eat balanced meals throughout the day to make sure that you are getting exactly what you need for optimal health.

Features of overall Health Supporting Diet | HealthSoul

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that a food first approach should be taken when it comes to supporting the body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Not only has this particular study found that there is no association between dietary supplementation and a reduced risk of mortality, but the study also found that getting nutrients from foods was what was found to hold protective health benefits.

When it comes to supplements, it’s also easy to get too much of a good thing. As this study found, too much calcium, actually increased the risk of cancer when it came to getting supplemental calcium. Many supplements contain far more than the daily recommended intake, so you could be risking getting far too much of what you think is a good thing.

Getting your nutrients from foods first is also going to provide you with a source of vitamins and minerals that your body can easily absorb. Not only that but when you focus on a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, you also take a step towards reducing your risk of chronic disease.

The take-home message here is not to use supplements in place of a healthy diet. A healthy diet is going to be your number one most powerful preventative tool in reducing inflammation, supporting nutrient reserves, and preventing chronic disease.

About The Author

Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women’s health. She doesn’t believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.