The Health and Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS) has reiterated the important role of vitamin and mineral supplements in bridging nutrient shortfalls after the results of a new review suggest there are no health gains from taking vitamin supplements.

The systematic review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology collated evidence from 179 trials looking at vitamin and mineral supplements and cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Authors concluded that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.

Commenting on the review, Dr Emma Derbyshire, HSIS advisor, said: “Whilst this was a well conducted review it is important to consider that food supplements are intended to support and maintain health and are not intended to prevent either cardiovascular disease or stroke, nor are they intended to reduce all-cause mortality.”

HSIS added that supplements can have an important role to play in supporting and maintaining health, particularly given the dietary shortfalls revealed in the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Research findings should be interpreted with caution and not applied generically when they focus on specific aspects of health, it added.

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