- Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts monitored 25,000 adults over the age of 50 from all 50 US states
- Three-quarters took the supplements once a day, while a quarter did not use them
- But the results showed no significant difference in weak scores between the groups.
- Dr Ariela Orkaby, a geriatric specialist who led the study, said ‘unnecessary’ pills today should not be prescribed to otherwise healthy patients.
- She suggested regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet was more effective.
One study found that taking vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acid tablets daily did not prevent older adults from becoming inflamed and weak.
Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, behind five years of research, on Tuesday urged Americans over the age of 50 to give up “unnecessary” pills, and instead focus on exercise and a Mediterranean diet to protect their health. did.
Herbal medicine vendors argue that the supplement — sold by a $1.05 billion industry — can help reduce inflammation and reduce age-related muscle loss, the major risk for weakness. But the scientific evidence for this is weak, with the latest paper being the latest to suggest they have little benefit.
Dr Ariela Orkaby, an aging expert who led the study, told TODAY: ‘We should consider prescribing unnecessary pills, and instead promote healthy lifestyle habits.
‘Regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet are proven strategies for prevention of weakness and should be encouraged for all older adults.’
Dr Joan Manson, an epidemiologist associated with the research, said: ‘These new findings from Vital are an important reminder that dietary supplements are not miracle pills or the elixir of youth.’
Shown above are the dilution scores for US adults over the age of 50 who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements (yellow dot) and no supplement (blue dot) once a day for the five-year study. This shows that there is no difference in dilution levels (shown by the Y axis) between the groups, meaning that the pills do not reduce the risk of dilution.
This graph shows the dilution score (Y axis) for US adults over the age of 50 who took a vitamin D3 tablet (yellow) once a day for the study without the pill (blue dot). It shows no difference in the level of vulnerabilities between the groups, meaning that the bullets had no effect on reducing the level of vulnerabilities
The omega-3 fatty acid supplements shown above are rolling off a production line.
What should a balanced diet look like?
According to the NHS, meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Foods based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, 2 biscuits of whole wheat cereal, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with the skin
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks), choose low-fat and low-sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (2 portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in moderation
• Drink 6-8 cups/glass of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat per day for women or 30 grams for men
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
In the study – published today in the journal jama network open Scientists re-analyzed data from the VITAL study to see whether supplements could combat heart disease or cancer.
They recruited 25,000 adults over the age of 50, who had a similar gender-split and a BMI of about 28 — putting them in the overweight group. They were from all 50 US states.
First, the participants were divided into four groups, with one quarter given both vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, each given only one supplement, and one receiving neither.
The participants were then asked to take pills every day, one containing 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D, while the others contained 840 micrograms of omega-3 fatty acids.
This was well above recommended levels from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which says every American adult should aim for 800 IU of vitamin D and 500 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day.
To measure vulnerabilities, they filled out a questionnaire at the start of the study on their physical activity, mood, and underlying health conditions.
Participants completed the survey again six months later, and then once a year for the next four years.
The results showed at the start of the study that 3,174 individuals (12.7 percent) were classified as vulnerable.
But after five years another 2,487 individuals (a further 11.3 percent) began to be classified as vulnerable.
The weak score – a measure of status – was calculated at the start of the study as 0.109. But by the end it had increased to 0.121.
There was no significant difference in the number of people who were vulnerable between the groups receiving the supplement and the groups that did not.
The scientists concluded: ‘These results do not support regular supplementation with vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acids in healthy community-dwelling adults for the prevention of vulnerabilities.
,[But] Regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet are proven strategies for prevention of weakness and should be encouraged for older adults.’
Weakness can be triggered by inflammation and poor nutrition, with some suggesting supplements can help combat it.
The scientists said it’s possible the pills could still have a positive effect for people with major health problems. They were not studied in this paper.
Study participants were recruited between November 2011 and March 2014 with …
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