Tuesday August 20, 2019

Study: Intake of Dietary Supplements May do More Harm than Benefit

The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet

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vitamin
Vitamin A is known to be essential for the healthy growth and maturation of skin cells but prior studies on its effectiveness in reducing skin cancer risk have shown mixed results. Pixabay

Researchers have found that intake of some vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements may not benefit the heart and, in some cases, may even prove to be injurious.

According to the study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, supplements combining calcium and vitamin D may be linked to a slightly increased stroke risk. However, there was no evidence that calcium or vitamin D taken alone had any health risks or benefits.

“Our analysis carries a simple message that although there may be some evidence that a few interventions have an impact on death and cardiovascular health, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and different types of diets had no measurable effect on survival or cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” said study lead author Safi U. Khan, Assistant Professor at the West Virginia University.

For the study, the researchers used data from 277 randomised clinical trials that evaluated 16 vitamins or other supplements and eight diets for their association with mortality or heart conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

dietary supplements
“People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements,” Michos said. Wikimedia Commons

They included data gathered on 992,129 research participants worldwide. The analysis showed possible health benefits only from a low-salt diet, omega-3 fatty acid supplements and possibly folic acid supplements for some people.

“The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there,” said senior author of the study Erin Michos from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US.

“People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements,” Michos said.

According to Abhishek Singh, Consultant Cardiologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Ghaziabad, dietary supplements do not have a measurably positive impact on cardiac health.

dietary supplements
The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet. Pixabay

“It’s more important to follow a healthy dietary regimen and avoid foods that are bad for the heart. Trans fatty acids are harmful and have to be curtailed. Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates are to be kept at a minimum,” Singh told IANS.

The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet. They are rich in vitamin K and dietary nitrates, which help protect the arteries and reduce blood pressure, he said.

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“Studies like this raise concerns about harm from calcium and Vitamin D supplement use. As far as Vitamin D supplements (without calcium) are concerned, there has been no evidence on whether it has any impact on cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” Anupama Singh, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Vimhans Nayati Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi, told IANS.

“The quality of the evidence base of these various nutritional supplements and dietary interventions still needs to be evaluated to ascertain the effectiveness of the study,” she added. (IANS)

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Consuming High- Fibre Diet may Reduce Risk of Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Pregnancy outcomes and infant immunity are linked to gut bacteria

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The mother's gut bacteria and diet appear to be crucial to promoting healthy pregnancy. Pixabay

Ladies, please take note. Consuming a high-fibre diet may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy, researchers have found.

“Simple recommendation to ‘eat real food, mostly plants and not too much’ might be the most effective primary prevention strategy for some of the most serious conditions of our time.

“The mother’s gut bacteria and diet appear to be crucial to promoting healthy pregnancy,” said study lead author Ralph Nanan, Professor at the University of Sydney.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, showed that pregnancy outcomes and infant immunity are linked to gut bacteria.

Fibre, Diet, Pregnancy
Ladies, please take note. Pixabay

Plant-based fibre is broken down in the gut by bacteria into factors that influence the immune system. The research team investigated the role of these metabolic products of gut bacteria during pregnancy.

The researchers found that in humans, reduced levels of acetate, which is mainly produced by fibre fermentation in the gut, is associated with the common and serious pregnancy-related condition preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia occurs in up to 10 per cent of pregnancies and is characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and severe swelling in the mother’s body.

It also interferes with the child’s immune development whilst in the womb, with some evidence suggesting a link to higher rates of allergies and autoimmune diseases later in life.

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The study found that preeclampsia affected the development of an important foetal immune organ – the thymus – which sits just behind the breastbone.

Foetuses in preeclamptic pregnancies were found to have a much smaller thymus than children from healthy pregnancies.

The cells the thymus normally generates — called ‘T’ cells, and specifically those associated with the prevention of allergies and autoimmune conditions such as diabetes — also remained lower in infants after preeclampsia, even four years after delivery.

Fiber, Diet, Pregnancy
Consuming a high-fibre diet may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy, researchers have found. Pixabay

The mechanisms of acetate on the developing foetal immune system were further examined in separate experiments involving mice that showed acetate was central in driving foetal thymus and ‘T’ cell development.

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The results showed that promoting specific metabolic products of gut bacteria during pregnancy might be an effective way to maintain a healthy pregnancy and to prevent allergies and autoimmune conditions later in life. (IANS)