BACKGROUND: In the Western world, dietary supplements are commonly used to prevent chronic diseases, mainly cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, there is inconsistent evidence on which dietary supplements actually lower risk of chronic disease, and some may even increase risk. We aim to evaluate the comparative safety and/or effectiveness of dietary supplements for the prevention of mortality (all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer) and cardiovascular and cancer incidence in primary prevention trials.
METHODS/DESIGN: We will search PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, clinical trials.gov, and the World Health Organization International Trial Registry Platform. Randomized controlled trials will be included if they meet the following criteria: (1) minimum intervention period of 12 months; (2) primary prevention of chronic disease (is concerned with preventing the onset of diseases and conditions); (3) minimum mean age ≥18 years (maximum mean age 70 years); (4) intervention(s) include vitamins (beta-carotene, vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and multivitamin supplements); fatty acids (omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat); minerals (magnesium, calcium, selenium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, iodine; multiminerals); supplements containing combinations of both vitamins and minerals; protein (amino acids); fiber; prebiotics; probiotics; synbiotics; (5) supplements are orally administered as liquids, pills, capsules, tablets, drops, ampoules, or powder; (6) report results on all-cause mortality (primary outcome) and/or mortality from cardiovascular disease or cancer, cardiovascular and/or cancer incidence (secondary outcomes). Pooled effects across studies will be calculated using Bayesian random effects network meta-analysis. Sensitivity analysis will be performed for trials lasting ≥5 years, trials with low risk of bias, trials in elderly people (≥65 years), ethnicity, geographical region, and trials in men and women. The results of the corresponding fixed effects models will also be compared in sensitivity analyses.
DISCUSSION: This is a presentation of the study protocol only. Results and conclusions are pending completion of this study. Our systematic review will be of great value to consumers of supplements, healthcare providers, and policy-makers, regarding the use of dietary supplements.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:
PROSPERO: CRD42014014801 .