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Supplements are NOT elixirs of youth: Vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids NOT helpful against frailty

Taking vitamin D3 and Omega-3 fatty acid pills daily won’t stop older adults from suffering from inflammation and becoming frail, a study finds.

Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts, behind the five-year study urged Americans over 50 to drop the “unnecessary” pills on Tuesday and instead focus on exercise and the Mediterranean diet to improve their health. to protect health.

Herbal drug vendors claim the supplements — sold by a $6.8 billion industry — could help reduce inflammation and slow age-related muscle loss, major frailty risks. But the scientific evidence for this is patchy, with the latest papers suggesting they have little benefit.

dr. Ariela Orkaby, an aging expert who led the study, said today: “We should consider cutting out unnecessary pills and promoting healthy lifestyle habits instead.

“Regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet are proven strategies for preventing frailty and should be encouraged for all older adults.”

Above are the vulnerability scores for U.S. adults over age 50 who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements once a day (yellow dot) and no supplements (blue dot) for the five-year study.  It shows that there is no difference in frailty levels (represented by the Y-axis) between the groups, meaning that the pills did not reduce the risk of developing frailty

Above are the vulnerability scores for U.S. adults over age 50 who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements once a day (yellow dot) and no supplements (blue dot) for the five-year study. It shows that there is no difference in frailty levels (represented by the Y-axis) between the groups, meaning that the pills did not reduce the risk of developing frailty

This chart shows the vulnerability scores (Y-axis) for US adults over the age of 50 who took vitamin D3 tablets (yellow) once a day for the study against those who did not take a pill (blue dot).  It shows no difference in frailty levels between the groups, meaning the pills had no effect on reducing frailty levels

This chart shows the vulnerability scores (Y-axis) for US adults over the age of 50 who took vitamin D3 tablets (yellow) once a day for the study against those who did not take a pill (blue dot).  It shows no difference in frailty levels between the groups, meaning the pills had no effect on reducing frailty levels

This chart shows the vulnerability scores (Y-axis) for US adults over the age of 50 who took vitamin D3 tablets (yellow) once a day for the study against those who did not take a pill (blue dot). It shows no difference in frailty levels between the groups, meaning the pills had no effect on reducing frailty levels

Above you see Omega-3 fatty acid supplements rolling off a production line

Above you see Omega-3 fatty acid supplements rolling off a production line

Above you see Omega-3 fatty acid supplements rolling off a production line

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count

• Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grain

• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-grain cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and large baked potato with skin

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose options with less fat and less sugar

• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide

In the study – published today in the journal JAMA network opened — Scientists re-analyzed data from the VITAL study, which looked at whether the supplements could fight heart disease or cancer.

They recruited 25,000 adults over the age of 50, with an even sex distribution and a BMI of about 28 – putting them in the overweight group. They came from all 50 states of the US.

First, the participants were divided into four groups, with a quarter receiving both vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, one each just one of the supplements and one neither.

The participants were then asked to take the pills every day, with the vitamin D pills containing 2,000 international units (IU), while the others contained 840 micrograms of omega-3 fatty acids.

This was above the recommended levels set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which says every American adult should aim for 800 IU of vitamin D per day and up to 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

To measure frailty, they completed a questionnaire at the start of the study about their physical activity, mood and underlying health conditions.

The participants completed the survey again six months later and then once a year for the next four years.

Results showed at the start of the study that 3,174 individuals (12.7 percent) were classified as frail.

But after five years, another 2,487 individuals (a further 11.3 percent) were classified as frail.

The vulnerability score – a measure of the condition – was calculated at 0.109 at the start of the study. But by the end it had risen to 0.121.

There was no significant difference in the numbers who were vulnerable between the groups that received the supplements and those that did not.

The scientists concluded: ‘These results do not support the routine supplementation of healthy community-dwelling adults with vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention of frailty.

‘[But] regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet are proven strategies for preventing frailty and should be encouraged in older adults.’

Vulnerability can be caused by inflammation and poor nutrition, and some suggest that supplements can help combat it.

The scientists added that the pills may still have a positive effect on the population with major health problems. They have not been explored in this article.

dr. JoAnn Manson, who led the vital program and also works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, “These new findings from VITAL are an important reminder that nutritional supplements are not miracle pills or elixirs of youth.”

The participants were recruited between November 2011 and March 2014, and the study continued through December 2017. The data was reanalyzed by scientists in Massachusetts last year.

Industry figures estimate that the market for omega-3 fatty acids in North America is worth $0.62 billion annually, while the vitamin D3 market is $0.43 billion.

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