Not all supplements are created equal – some can be bad for your heart
They were identified by a new analysis published in the Journal of The American College Cardiology which shed light on the effect of different micronutrients on cardiovascular health.
Everyone probably knows that a varied and balanced diet, combined with a healthy lifestyle, helps keep the heart healthy. Certain dietary habits, in particular, can help protect against and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Especially for those recovering from heart disease, experts recommend following a diet that ensures proper intake of antioxidants, such as omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and vitamin C, although l he usefulness of these micronutrients, often taken in the form of food supplements, has not been fully clarified. A new analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologywho identified those that actually help heart health, as well as those that offer no benefit or even have a negative effect.
The research, coordinated by Dr Simin Liu, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Brown University in Rhode Island, USA, reviewed a total of 884 studies on micronutrients taken as dietary supplements, analyzing the results of their consumption on more than 883,000 patients. This allowed the researchers to develop “a comprehensive, evidence-based, integrative map that characterizes and quantifies the potential effects of micronutrient supplements on cardiometabolic outcomes – explained Professor Liu – . Our study highlights the importance of micronutrient diversity and balancing health benefits and risks”.
Not all supplements are good for the heart
Antioxidant supplementation has long been thought to play a key role in heart health because these nutrients help reduce oxidative stress, a known contributor to many cardiovascular diseases. ” However, supplementation research has focused primarily on the benefits of one or a few vitamins and minerals. stressed Liu who, together with his colleagues, decided to adopt ” a comprehensive and systematic approach to evaluating all publicly available and accessible studies reporting all micronutrients, including phytochemicals and antioxidant supplements, and their effects on cardiovascular risk factors and multiple heart diseases”.
Overall, the studies reviewed evaluated the effects of 27 different types of antioxidant supplements. Of these, there was strong evidence that many offered cardiovascular benefits. These included omega-3 fatty acid, which reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease; folic acid, which reduces the risk of stroke; and coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant sometimes marketed as CoQ10, which has reduced all-cause mortality.
The effects of antioxidant micronutrients on cardiovascular disease risk factors and on cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes / Credit: Journal of The American College Cardiology
Omega-6 fatty acids, L-arginine, L-citrulline, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin, catechin, curcumin, flavanol, genistein, and quercetin reduce cardiovascular risk factors, although vitamin D showed no effect on cardiovascular disease outcomes and type 2 diabetes risk prevention.
As stated, not all supplements have been shown to be helpful for the heart. Indeed, researchers have observed that vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium have no effect on the long-term outcomes of cardiovascular disease. And that beta-carotene supplements increased all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease.
According to the researchers, the study results indicate a need for more personalized, precision-based dietary interventions involving specific combinations of beneficial supplements. ” Further studies, including large, high-quality interventional analyses, are needed to investigate the long-term health effects of certain micronutrients. – concluded Professor Liu – . It is important to identify their optimal mix, as not all of them are beneficial and some may even have harmful effects.”.
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