Dietary Supplement Fanatics Healthiest Of All - OAWHealth

Dietary Supplement Fanatics Healthiest Of All

Dietary Supplement Fanatics Healthiest Of All...

Dietary Supplement Fanatics Healthiest Of All

By Bill Sardi © 2007

They may not be laughing at vitamin
supplement fanatics much longer.  According to an authoritative study just
published in The
Nutrition Journal,
avid dietary supplement users who, on
average, take 17 different supplements daily, were judged to be far healthier
than adults who just take a single supplement such as a common multivitamin, or
who don't take dietary supplements at all.

The study, headed by Gladys Block of
the University of California at Berkeley, is the first to examine measurable
health parameters among consumers who take a broad array of dietary supplements,
such as vitamins C, E, D, fish or flaxseed oil, lecithin, coenzyme Q10,
glucosamine, B complex and others.  Nearly nine in ten multi-supplement users
consumed 20 or more different kinds of supplements throughout the
year.

While more than half of U.S. adults
take dietary supplements, nearly half of these supplement consumers take only
one type of supplement, most commonly an inexpensive multivitamin. 

The study compared 602 adults who
took no supplements with 176 consumers who took a single supplement (usually
daily or every other day, and usually a multivitamin) with 278 consumers who
took a large number of different supplements.     

The results of the study are
startling.  Instead of anticipated side effects and overdosage, researchers
found the following:

Suboptimal levels of nutrients were
far less common among the multi-supplement users.

Multi-supplements

Single
supplements

No
supplements

Suboptimal vitamin C

0%

9%

32%

Optimal
level vitamin C
(greater than 1.0
mg/deciliter)

94%

47%

22%

Vitamin
D deficiency
(subclinical, less than 37.5
nanomole/liter)

0%

No data

No
data

Risk for disease was far lower among
the multi-supplement users compared to non-users.  Risk for diabetes was 73%
less, coronary heart disease 52% less, and self-determined health status (report
health status was rated as "good or excellent") 74% more
often, compared to non-supplement users.

Multi-supplements

Diabetes

-73%

Coronary heart disease

-52%

Self-determined health status
(reported "excellent or
good
")

74%

Measurable health parameters were
also far superior among the multi-supplement users

Multi-supplements

Single
supplements

No
supplements

Elevated homocysteine
(marker of
inflammation)

11%

37%

45%

Elevated C-reactive protein
(marker of
inflammation)

74%

31%

54%

An interesting finding was that blood
serum ferritin levels, a marker of iron load, was much higher among
non-supplement (198) and multivitamin users (205) than consumers of an array of
supplements (117 micrograms per liter of blood).  High iron storage levels are
associated with conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, brain and heart
disease as well as frequent infections.  Common one-a-day multivitamins often
provide iron while users of a wide array of supplements may be taking nutrients
that inhibit iron absorption, such as extracts from fruits, berries, grapes or
bran. 

Blood serum levels of carotenoids
(beta carotene, lycopene, lutein) were three higher among multi-supplement users
than non-users, and double that of multivitamin
users.

Vitamin E levels among
multi-supplement users were more than double that of non-users and multivitamin
users.

Multi-supplement users had
significantly higher HDL "good" cholesterol, lower
triglycerides and C-reactive protein, and lower blood pressure, markers of
cardiovascular health, than non-users and multivitamin
users.

This study may dispel a common belief
that a low-dose multivitamin may be sufficient to address essential nutrient
shortages.

Source:  Gladys Block, et al, Usage
patterns, health, and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary
supplement users: a cross-sectional study.  The Nutrition Journal, 6: 30, 2007. 
Open access available at http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-6-30.pdf    
 ####  By Bill Sardi  © 2007 Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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