Vitamin pills ‘don’t make you healthier’ – and only one supplement is worth it

Most of the popular vitamin and mineral supplements people take do not boost health, a major study says.

Some could even increase the risk of death, scientists claim. Their research concludes only folic acid is proven to reduce risks of heart disease or stroke.

They looked at five years of reviews of the most common supplements taken, incl­uding vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E.

Multivitamins , vitamin C and D and calcium showed no advantage or added risk in prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes or early death.

But B3 and antioxidants showed a very small increased risk of death from any cause. Lead author Dr David Jenkins,

University of Toronto, said: “We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements.

“Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm, but there is no apparent advantage, either.

In the absence of significant positive data, apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke or heart disease, it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals.”

The study, of reviews from January 2012 to October 2017 and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology yesterday, added people with specific deficiencies should take supplements according to professional advice.

In 2016, Public Health England recommended taking vitamin D tablets daily.

NHS Choices gives advice for people at risk of deficiencies.

It adds: “Most people get the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

"Taking [supplements] too much may be harmful.”

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