The research was published this month in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. It was conducted by two experts from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Researchers found that questions about the effectiveness of supplements persist, as well as disagreements about how best to answer these questions, especially on a population-wide scale.
“Despite this widespread acceptance of dietary supplements by the general public and healthcare providers, questions about the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements continue to be raised. The gold standard for determining the safety and effectiveness of a new drug is the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial (RCT), and there has been a movement to keep supplements by the same standard, but this is extremely difficult to do for a number of reasons. Observational studies are an alternative to RCTs to address the issue of the safety and effectiveness of supplements, although these studies can be plagued by many problems associated with confusion with other healthy lifestyle behaviors associated with supplement use and measurement common use of dietary supplements, ”the authors wrote.
The research took advantage of the unique dataset of MLM distributors
The study builds on previous research using data from the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010. These found that participants who used multiple supplements in a day had better cardiometabolic health profiles than the general population. The five most popular dietary supplements observed in this dataset were multivitamin / mineral supplements, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil, herbal supplements, and vitamin C. Multiple use of dietary supplements was defined as using at least two dietary supplements per day. The NHANES data used for comparison also looked at groups who only took a multivitamin or another supplement for a single purpose, as well as groups who did not use any supplements at all.
Another study, published in 2007, took a cross-sectional image of 287 long-term users of multiple nutritional supplements (LTMDS) that were distributors for Shaklee Corporation. At the time of data collection, participants had been LTMDS users for up to 20 years. In the present study, data from 235 members of the same group were examined an additional 10 years later. After issues with incomplete laboratory test compliance and a few other exclusions, the researchers were left with a sample of 156 LTMDS users with a history of at least 30 years.
Most of the metabolic benefits persisted
Results included total cholesterol (plasma), HDL cholesterol (plasma) and LDL cholesterol (calculated), triglycerides (plasma), glucose (serum for LTMDS and plasma for NHANES), insulin (serum), and highly sensitive CRP (plasma). and the prevalence of elevated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and diabetes. To measure this, blood samples were drawn from most of the 156 subjects while attending a national Shaklee meeting in Cleveland, while the scales were drawn during home visits.
The results support previous research that found LTMDS users to get significant real-world benefits, including the benefits of LDL cholesterol levels and fasting glucose measurements. The researchers found that most, but not all, of the previously observed benefits persisted after an additional 10 years.
“Our results suggest that dietary supplement use, particularly MDS, may have cardiometabolic benefits, which is consistent with previous observations in the LTMDS cohort. Our results also support evidence from previous observational studies of dietary supplement use and cardiometabolic risk, although it is beyond the scope of this paper to compare our current results with all evidence for and against a role of dietary supplement use in cardiometabolic risk. “The authors concluded.
AHPA managers warn again of enthusiasm for the results
Holly Johnson, PhD, chief science officer of the American Herbal Products Association, said the finding is welcome but needs to be taken with the usual grains of salt via observational studies in general and population subsets in particular. Does the use of LTMDS seem effective mainly because the people who make the choices are engaging in other healthy habits as well? What role does the mindset play of someone who can sustain the energy and positive outlook required to run a tiered sales organization for marketing organizations for 30 years or more?
“This observational study is interesting because it looks at cardiometabolic biomarkers in a unique study population of people who have used multiple but undefined dietary supplements for over 30 years, compared to groups who used dietary supplements less frequently or at all. While the RCT remains the standard clinical design for drugs in gold, the authors identify challenges in using the RCT approach to investigate the long-term role of herbs and dietary supplements in disease prevention, “Johnson told NutraIngredients-USA .
“However, the authors acknowledge significant limitations in the design of observational studies, including, in this case, that the long-term multi-supplement user populations were indeed different from the general US population in many ways, such as race, ethnicity, income, education, smoking and Use diet supplement. There may be many factors other than dietary supplement use that could result in better biomarker scores in the study group, including socio-economic, health, diet, exercise, and lifestyle differences between those who and do not use dietary supplements. While these data are interesting, the results of observational studies alone are not enough to demonstrate the health benefits of dietary supplements, ”she added.
Source:. International journal for vitamin and nutritional research.
2021 March 1; 1-11. doi: 10.1024 / 0300-9831 / a000701. Online before printing.
A Beneficial Cardiometabolic Health Profile Associated with Dietary Supplement Use: A Cross-sectional Study
Authors: Jacques PF, Rogers R.