Professor Judy Buttriss, of the British Nutrition Foundation, said the findings added to a growing body of evidence that micronutrient supplements do not reduce the risk of death. One 2015 study estimated that unsafe or improperly taken supplements, including those for weight loss, send more than 23,000 Americans to the emergency room each year. In addition, during a household interview, they answered whether they had used any dietary supplements in the previous 30 days. The same was not true for calcium intake from foods. Excess intake of calcium was associated with higher risk of death from cancer, they said.
Lead scientist Dr Fang Fang Zhang, from Tufts University, said: "It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the effect might not be beneficial".
What's more, consuming large doses of some nutrients through supplements might be harmful - the study found that getting high levels of calcium from supplements was linked to an increased risk of death from cancer.
The researchers found that adequate intakes of vitamin K and magnesium are associated with lower risk of death, while adequate intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K, and zinc are associated with lower risk of death by cardiovascular diseases. Though some nutrients have been linked to lower mortality risk in general, you'll need to get those nutrients from actual food, not pills and powders, to reap the benefits.
Similarly, calcium intake from supplements indicated an increased risk of death but when taken from food, there was no association with death.
"Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren't seen with supplements", said Zhang.
Zhang and her colleagues found a lower risk of death from any cause among those who consumed adequate amounts of vitamin K and magnesium, and a lower risk of cardiovascular death among those with adequate intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K and zinc.
After they adjusted for factors like education and demographics, they found there is no positive connection between supplements and a longer life. While it is comforting to know that as a society we are taking a more proactive approach to our health, scientists say we may be going about it the wrong way.
Somewhere there seems to be a disconnect, because study after study keeps showing that supplements do not make a difference, at best, and at worst, that they can do harm.
'Meanwhile, it is clear diets high in these components are healthy.
A new study demonstrates the ineffectiveness of dietary supplements in reducing the risk of death.
However, no link was found between increased consumption of foods containing calcium and the disease.