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Vitamin and mineral supplements are a staple in many people's diets, but there is increasing evidence to suggest the most popular ones are essentially useless.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto and St. Michaels Hospital who reviewed past studies, clinical trials and data regarding multivitamins and supplements from January 2012 to October 2017.

The researchers discovered that the most common vitamin supplements taken by people such as Vitamin C, D, calcium as well as multivitamins did not offer any sort of prevention to heart disease or stroke. Interestingly, B3 (niacin) and some antioxidant supplements apparently increase the risk of death from any cause.

A vast spectrum of the nutritional supplements was covered in the review, which comprised calcium, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D, E and mineral supplements β-carotene. They advised to rely on a healthy diet with the objective of getting to fill the body with vitamins and minerals.

MacKay explained in a press release from CRN that "the most significant finding in this review is the beneficial role vitamin B-complex and folic acid can play in reducing the risk of stroke".

Dr Stanton added a lot of money is made selling supplements to gullible people and admitted customers would be better off eating fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, fish, nuts and seeds.

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"The results of vitamin supplementation trials have been disappointing at best, despite having a solid mechanistic basis", the authors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Health experts have long warned that most supplements do not prevent chronic illness or premature death.

Study leaders say they were surprised there are so few benefits to these popular supplements. But before you start stockpiling these supplements, in a piece for The Conversation dietitian Clare Collins has highlighted that of the studies testing folic acid supplements, stroke was reduced in only two of the seven "gold-standard" studies. They also found that excess folic acid in daily supplements can also be linked to prostate cancer.

The one exception seems to be the benefit of folic acid for stroke prevention.

The research mirrors a 2013 study that also suggested supplements have no long-term health benefits for health adults, but could be potentially harmful.

ODS offers the following caution for consumers of dietary supplements: "Supplements should not replace prescribed medications or the variety of foods important to a healthful diet".