If there are vitamins, minerals and other supplements in your medicine cabinet, they might not be doing you much good. A recent analysis found the supplements are not associated with significant protection from heart disease or a longer lifespan.
Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers reviewed the findings from nearly 300 clinical trials involving the use of supplements. While most of the supplements weren’t associated with any harm, they showed very limited effectiveness. Those that showed potential benefits in certain people were omega-3 fatty acid supplements and folic acid.
Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to cut the risk of heart disease by reducing fat in the blood and raising levels of “good” cholesterol.
For the study, the researchers evaluated nearly 20 vitamins and supplements as well as eight diets looking for links to heart attacks, stroke and heart disease. Most of the studies they reviewed involved multivitamins and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E as well as calcium and iron supplements. None of them were found to positively affect heart health or reduce the risk of death.
Still, there were some noteworthy exceptions: The analysis of a trio of low-salt diets found a 10 percent drop in deaths among people with healthy blood pressure. Among those with high blood pressure, the death risk decreased by one-third. For those who took omega-3 supplements, heart attack risk dropped by 8 percent. Folic acid use was linked to a 20 percent reduction in stroke risk.
When it comes to nutrients, the study’s authors had this advice: Focus on getting nutrients from a heart-healthy diet and don’t expect miracles from a magic pill.