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Is it better to get nutrients from food or supplements? – Medical News Today

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Researchers have found that nutrients from food may be linked to lower risks of death, while excess intake of certain supplements may have the opposite effect.

Research examines the effects of nutrients from food and supplements.

Taking supplements leads to an increased level of total nutrient intake.

Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes.

Suppliers sell them in different forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids.

Common dietary supplements include calcium, fish oil, and vitamin D.

Dietary supplements should not replace complete meals, which are essential to nurturing the body. Talking to healthcare providers before making the decision about whether to take supplements is a good practice. Doctors can help people achieve a balance between nutrients from food and supplements.

Many supplements also contain active ingredients that may have strong biological effects. Any of the following actions could be harmful or even life-threatening: combining supplements, mixing supplements with medicines, or taking too much of some supplements, especially vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron.

When buying supplements in the United States, it is important to read labels and get information about the manufacturer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded supplements — but not before the products are available on the market.

Supplement consumption in the US

According to the 2018 consumer survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), consumer confidence in products and trust in the dietary supplement industry is strong among people in the U.S.

The survey found that 75 percent of U.S. individuals take dietary supplements, as opposed to just 65 percent in 2009.

“This year’s data provide further evidence that dietary supplements are mainstays in modern-day health and wellness regimens,” explains Brian Wommack, the senior vice president of communications at the CRN.

Vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamin D and calcium remain the most popular types. However, the use of herbals and botanicals — especially turmeric — has significantly increased during the past 5 years.

The main reason that U.S. individuals take dietary supplements is overall health and wellness, according to the survey.

Nutrients from food vs. supplements

Although many people use dietary supplements, a recent study found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease or premature death.

However, folic acid alone and B vitamins with folic acid may reduce the risk of heart disease.

The team, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Medford, MA, conducted a study to evaluate the association between dietary supplement use and all-cause mortality. The researchers have published their results in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

“As potential benefits and harms of supplement use continue to be studied,” points out senior study author Fang Fang Zhang, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, “some studies have found associations between excess nutrient intake and adverse outcomes, including increased risk of certain cancers.”

The study used data from more than 27,000 U.S. adults and assessed whether adequate or excess nutrient intake was linked to all-cause mortality, and whether results changed if the nutrients came from supplements instead of food.

For each nutrient, the scientists calculated the daily supplement dose by “combining the frequency with the product information for ingredient, the amount of ingredient per serving, and ingredient unit.”

They assessed the participants’ dietary intake of nutrients from foods using 24-hour dietary recalls and mortality outcomes through the National Death Index through December 31, 2011.

There were several key findings:

  • Adequate intakes of vitamin A, K, zinc, and magnesium — from food, not supplements — were linked to a lower risk of death.
  • Adequate intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K, and zinc — from foods, not supplements — were associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Excess intake of calcium was associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer.
  • Excess intake of calcium from supplements (at least 1,000 milligrams per day) was associated with an increased risk of death from cancer.

High intake of some supplements is harmful

In addition to the harmful effects of excess calcium intake from supplements, the researchers found that people with no sign of vitamin D deficiency who use vitamin D supplements may have an increased risk of all-cause mortality.

Further research on this potential connection is necessary.

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.”

Fang Fang Zhang, Ph.D.

Zhang adds that it is important to understand the effect that the nutrient and source might play on health and mortality outcomes — especially if not beneficial.

She also notes some limitations in the study, including the duration of dietary supplement use studied and the fact that dietary supplement use was subject to recall bias.

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"You're Just Peeing Out a Lot of Money." This Is the Real Way You're Flushing Your Retirement Savings Down the Drain – MONEY

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FDA Sends Warning Letters on Dietary Supplements – Wall Street Journal

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The FDA has sent warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements.


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Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it sent warning letters to 11 companies for marketing dietary supplements that don’t meet its guidelines.

The agency issued warnings to three companies for marketing dietary supplements containing phenibut, which is sometimes sold as a sleep aid or to treat anxiety. It said that phenibut doesn’t meet the statutory definition of a dietary ingredient, which is generally a vitamin, herb or other natural substance used to supplement the diet. 

A Wall Street Journal article last week on the $40 billion supplement industry said that phenibut, developed as a drug in the former Soviet Union, was being marketed as a “nootropic,” or brain supplement, in the U.S. A spokeswoman for the FDA said that the agency was already investigating phenibut.

The FDA also issued warnings to eight companies for marketing dietary supplements containing DMHA, a stimulant sometimes found in exercise and weight-loss supplements. The companies have 15 business days to inform the FDA of steps they will take to bring their products into compliance. That could include a decision to recall, reformulate or discontinue sales.

Supplements aren’t tightly regulated by the FDA like prescription drugs. Dietary-supplement manufacturers don’t need approval from the FDA before introducing their products to the market. The FDA has oversight for taking action against any misbranded supplement after it reaches the market.

The FDA said it is launching a new online tool to help warn consumers of ingredients that appear to be unlawfully marketed in supplements. The agency said the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List will help get cautionary information to the public more quickly before it issues any final determination. It is on the FDA website, and consumers can also sign up to receive updates and changes to the list.

Write to Anne Marie Chaker at anne-marie.chaker@wsj.com

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New Tool Alerts Public to Unlawfully Marketed Dietary Supplement Ingredients – The Cardiology Advisor

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In an effort to better alert the public of unlawful ingredients in dietary supplements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, a new reference tool for consumers and manufacturers.

Available on the FDA website, the list includes ingredients that may not lawfully be included in dietary supplements. Consumers may wish to avoid supplements that include these ingredients as they may not fit the definition of a dietary ingredient or may require pre-market notification that was not submitted; inclusion in this list does not necessarily mean the ingredient poses a safety concern.

“It is important to note that the List is not exhaustive; it will always be a work in progress,” said Frank Yiannas, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. “We expect the List will evolve as new ingredients are identified and others are removed.” In addition, the FDA will continue to communicate with the public regarding any safety concerns identified with new dietary supplement ingredients.

In a press statement, Yiannas also noted that the agency recently sent out warning letters to 8 companies that were marketing dietary supplements containing DMHA and 3 companies marketing supplements with phenibut; neither one of these currently meets the FDA’s definition of a lawful dietary ingredient. “We take these violations very seriously and stand ready to take enforcement action without further notice if the companies do not immediately cease distribution of the products,” said Yiannas. In February 2019, the FDA went after 17 companies selling unapproved and/or misbranded products (most sold as dietary supplements) claiming to prevent, treat, or cure Alzheimer disease and other serious disease and health conditions.

Consumers who wish to receive alerts related to updates to the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List can sign up here.

For more information visit FDA.gov.

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This article originally appeared on MPR

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