Lower Risks Of Death Linked to Nutrients From Food, Not Supplements

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on April 9, 2019, showed that nutrients received directly from food was better in reducing all causes of death rates.  The study showed that there was no reduction in lowering the risk of death by using supplements.

Furthermore, the study revealed that there was a link to increased risk of cancer deaths with the excess use of calcium.  Researchers found that doses of calcium supplements that exceeded 1,000 mg per day was associated with it.

Fang Fang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and who is also the senior and corresponding author on the study, says that it is important to understand the source of nutrients and its benefits on health outcomes especially if it may not be beneficial.

The researchers used data that came from over 27,000 US adults 20 years or older. They found that when they evaluated the sources of nutrient intake – food vs. supplement – benefits were associated with nutrients from food and not from supplements.

The study also used data from 24 hour diet recall from six two-year cycles from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, through 2010 as well as from the National Death Index through December 31, 2011 to determine and assess the dietary intake of nutrients from foods.

“Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements,” said Zhang. “This study also confirms the importance of identifying the nutrient source when evaluating mortality outcomes.”

For instance, they found that nutrient intake from foods lowered the risk of death

such as vitamin K and magnesium. And it lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular disease with adequate intakes of vitamins A, K and the mineral zinc though food sources.

An award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported the study but TuftsNow reports that the content of the study is solely the work of the authors and does not represent the views or stand of the NIH on nutrition and health.

Fan Chen, M.S., MPH, the first author of this new stud, who this work when she was a student at the Friedman School and Tufts University School of Medicine.