While a sensible diet has always made sense, you don't find many really obese old people, benefits of the $35 billion supplements market have never been shown. Instead, the review found that when it comes to cardiovascular-related deaths, heart attacks, stroke, coronary heart disease, and general all-cause mortality, taking both calcium and vitamin D was actually harmful. With somewhat wobbly certainty, they found taking both may increase the risk of stroke.
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There are confounders supplement companies will roll out, yet those will be the same confounders they ignore when marketing their products; the mortality risk could have been impacted by other factors, those people could have been taking vitamin D and calcium due to other health conditions. But that is why some people who are already healthy are not being helped by supplements. It is not the supplements, it is not even supplements as an adjuvant to a healthy lifestyle, it is health-minded people with the money to throw all options into their lifestyles. It's like music therapy or naturopathy in cancer treatment. It's great if someone feels better with it, but it is not making a difference.
Two supplements were correlated to longer, if not better, life: folic acid and omega-3, long-chain fatty acids. But don't rush to the GNC or osteopath Joe Mercola's website and start buying those thinking it will reduce your risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. We are talking about risk factors, not magic pills. A terrible lifestyle will not be offset by Acai berries, quinoa, red wine, gluten-free, paleo, keto, or any other buzzword making the cultural rounds.
Speaking of kero, diets didn't fare any better than supplements. The Mediterranean diet, no carb diets, no fat diets, heavy fish diets, none of them helped nor did scientists think they would. They were always just epidemiological correlation, no different than if you find a group of people who smoke but still live to be 100 and declare smoking leads to longer life. It's nonsense, thin people live longer than obese people, the foods that they eat are irrelevant. It is the calories and energy balance, just like in every study of weight loss ever done. The only meaningful difference was people with high blood pressure who ate less salt, but that could also be due to a confluence of lifestyle changes.
The authors note that clinical trial of supplements and diets are not very good, so we should take even their salt findings "with a grain of salt." True, there is a reason why supplement companies don't spend money to prove their claims and it's because they know they can't. So that leaves it up to institutions which can only do small-scale or rely on surveys. A whole lot of anecdotes don't mean data. Only groups like the International Agency for Research on Cancer or our National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) believe otherwise.
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