‘No beneficial effect of supplementation’ for chronic disease risk reduction, says BNF

Christmas is over, and with it the epicenter of a festive food cyclone high in fat and salt. As we enter the new year, attention will now turn to how to burn off this excess and regain lost fitness. Some may be tempted to improve their fitness and body through supplementation, but the British Nutrition Foundation warns that this may not be the best option.

Speaking to the Express, one of their nutritional scientists, Helena Gibson-Moore, said: “It is important to remember that supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet.

“A balanced and varied diet should provide adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for good health, as well as essential nutritional components such as fiber and natural bioactive compounds (such as polyphenols), with the exception of vitamins. D.

“A healthy, balanced diet is usually high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy or dairy replacement products, legumes and legumes, and other protein foods such as fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and seeds, and a small amount of unsaturated oils such as vegetable oils. or olive oil.

However, Helena said there are some caveats for those following a vegan diet.

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She said: “If you’re on a vegan diet, there are some nutrients that are harder to get, which is why the NHS recommends that you include fortified foods or supplements that contain nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, calcium and iron. ”

Helena also warned about the use of supplements: “Several reviews and meta-analyses (where data from a number of studies are analyzed together) have generally shown that vitamin and mineral supplements do not have a positive effect on reducing the risk of chronic diseases (such as cancer and cardiovascular disease).

“In some cases, the use of high-dose supplements (such as beta-carotene) has been shown to have an adverse effect on disease risk.”

Despite this, supplements are not without some advantages.

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Helena continued: “There are some populations for which supplements are recommended:

The UK Government recommends that all children aged 6 months to 5 years receive a daily nutritional supplement containing vitamins A, C and D.

“It is recommended that women who are pregnant, trying to conceive, or who may become pregnant take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily from conception until 12 weeks of gestation.

“This is done to reduce the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect.”

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Regarding vitamin D, Helena added that there are some specific recommendations for the use of this vitamin: “Adults and children aged 5 years and older should take (or should be given) a daily 10 mcg (mcg) vitamin D supplement during the fall and winter months. .

“Infants from birth to 1 year of age should be given a daily supplement of 8.5–10 mcg (mcg) of vitamin D for a year (unless they consume more than 500 ml of infant formula per day), and children aged 1 to 4 years should get 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily throughout the year.

“The government recommends that people who cannot go out often or who cover their skin outdoors take 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D daily throughout the year.

“People with dark skin, including those of African, African, Caribbean, or South Asian descent, should consider taking 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D daily throughout the year.”

In addition, Helena also informed stakeholders that they may not be getting enough health benefits from their diet. She said: “For people who are concerned that they may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals from their diet (other than those recommended by the government), it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor or other healthcare professional, such as a dietitian. or a pharmacist.

She added: “[They] will be able to advise if it is necessary for their specific needs or health condition, as well as any concerns to be aware of, including interactions with prescribed medications.
If you are using vitamin or mineral supplements, it is a good idea to buy from a reputable company such as your local pharmacy, supermarket or major retailer to ensure the product meets UK safety guidelines (see above).
“It’s also important to always read the label and make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dosage.”

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