If you're one of the millions of Americans who collectively spend more than $30 billion a year on health-related supplements, you might want to stash that credit card and focus on your financial well-being instead. According to a wide-ranging study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, there isn't any connection between a longer life or improved heart health and nearly all dietary supplements. The researchers examined the results of 277 previously-concluded clinical trials that focused on 16 vitamins, minerals, and other supplements and their impact on heart health and longevity in nearly one million participants. The only significant health benefits they discerned were modest and came from omega-3 fatty acid and folic acid supplements. Even then, only some of the participants appeared to reap any benefits.
Erin D. Michos, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, said people should stop looking for a "magic bullet" supplement not only because there isn't one, but because people don't need one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 percent of Americans take one or more vitamins or dietary supplements every day.
If you want a longer life ...
- Floss: Flossing helps prevent periodontal disease, which has been linked to several serious health problems.
- Be social: Studies have shown that people who stay close to family and friends tend to live longer.
- Smile: A Wayne University study showed that people who smile in photographs enjoy longer lives, and those who smile biggest live the longest.