With so many enticing advertisements about natural remedies, it’s really hard to choose which is actually beneficial to our health. Each individual has their own preference on what is effective for their body and what is not. But if you are relying too much on food supplements, better think twice because these pills cannot supplant a well-balanced diet.

Most people who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables take dietary supplements as a substitute for the nutrients that their body needs. Multivitamins and supplements may be easily found in drug stores which is a great convenience for some. However, a new study of the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that the nutrients from supplements are not healthy at all.

The researchers examined the data of 30,000 U.S. adults who took supplements and participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2000. After six years of follow-up period, the study found out that more than 3,600 people died. This shows that food supplements didn’t actually lower the risk of early death.

In fact, people who took calcium via supplements had a 53% chance of dying from cancer than those who were not. Those who took vitamin D supplements but were not actually in need of such vitamin had a higher chance of dying during the study period. Surprisingly, not taking vitamin D supplements didn’t increase the death risk of those who were lacking in vitamin D.

It is true that getting an adequate amount of vitamins A, K, D, and calcium is good for the body but only if those nutrients come from food and not supplements. Also, having the right quantities of nutrients from healthy foods prolongs one’s lifespan.

Despite the claim, there are few people who benefit from supplements, including the elderly who suffer from food absorption and those who have dietary restrictions. But, it is still advisable for an average person to have a balanced diet that contains fruits and vegetables, rather than sticking to over-the-counter solutions.