In addition, some past research has indicated that taking supplements - rather than getting the nutrients from food - may increase the risk of certain health problems rather than protect against them.
Another study has warned that vitamin supplements probably aren't an adequate substitute for a poor diet - and, in fact, at least one popular supplement may increase cancer death risk.
The study analyzed information from more than 27,000 adults in the US ages 20 and up who took part in a national health survey between 1999 and 2010.
The study looked at data from more than 27,000 US adults, 20 years old and up, to measure the links between dietary supplement use and death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In addition, they explored if these links are affected by the nutrient source: food versus supplements.
The scientists behind the work discovered that adequate intake of vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc and copper were associated with a lower risk of premature death, but only when these nutrients came from food. There was no connection between dietary supplement use and a lower risk of death.
"As potential benefits and harms of supplement use continue to be studied, some studies have found associations between excess nutrient intake and adverse outcomes, including increased risk of certain cancers", Fang Fang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., senior author and associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, says in a statement.
The objective of this research, from Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in the USA state of MA, was to evaluate the link between use of dietary supplements, the level of nutrients obtained from food and supplements, and mortality in adults in the US. It's important to note that the study involved self-reported dietary supplement use and dosage, and it's unclear whether specific usage durations may influence the outcome.
While it might be easy to blame people for being lazy and wanting the convenience of a pill over the more complicated nuances of eating a well-balanced diet, I am not sure it's that straightforward. Instead, researchers recommend getting nutrients from food. That said, I'm going to go eat a salad. The solution seems so easy: Eat more fruits and vegetables ... alas, nothing seems very simple anymore.