Researchers at Tufts University analyzed data from 30,899 U.S. adults who had answered questionnaires on the foods that they ate and the supplements that they took, and were then followed for six years or more (Annals of Internal Medicine, May 7, 2019). A total of 3613 deaths occurred during the study period. The researchers found that:
• Having an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals from food was associated with reduced deaths from heart attacks or cancers, and deaths from all causes, during the study period.
• Taking vitamin or mineral supplements was not associated with reduced risk for death during the study period.
• Taking calcium pills was associated with increased risk for death from cancer.
Why Are Whole Foods More Healthful than Pills? Accumulating evidence suggests that whole foods from plants may offer significant health benefits beyond their nutrient content, by populating the gut with both fiber and healthful bacteria.
• Soluble fiber now appears to be one of the most important contributors for health benefits in our food supply. It passes to your colon where it causes healthful bacteria to grow in your colon and reduces the harmful bacteria. Healthful bacteria convert soluble fiber to short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that lower high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar and block inflammation that is a major cause of heart attacks and cancers. So far, studies show that you should eat very large amounts of soluble fiber, even if you are trying to lose weight. See Fiber, a True Superfood
• The bacteria in plants may be one of the most healthful components in our food. For example, an apple has more than 100 million different bacteria that may help to populate your intestinal tract with healthful bacteria that convert soluble fiber to SCFAs (Front Microbiol, July 24, 2019).
My Recommendations This recent study confirms that you cannot depend on vitamin or mineral pills to keep you healthy. Lack of U.S government regulations allows manufacturers of supplements to put products on the market without proof of content, benefits or safety. The government does not check the potency of supplements unless complaints are registered. See Do You Need Vitamin Pills? Get Calcium from Foods, Not Pills More Fiber from Whole Foods is Better
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