Don’t Waste Your Money On These 8 Vitamins—They Can Even Be Harmful

  • Getting higher doses of vitamins and minerals may do you harm than good.
  • In most cases, it’s still better to get these nutrients from natural sources.
  • Despite claims of having anti-oxidant components, previous studies don’t show that some of these supplements can in fact combat cancer.

Vitamins and minerals are important to health, but taking more than the allowed dosage may pose dangers to the body. In most cases, it’s still better to get these nutrients from natural sources.  

However, high doses of specific vitamins and minerals may be okay for certain individuals. See your doctor before taking supplements especially if you are of childbearing age, a vegetarian, lack sun exposure, an athlete in training, or may be malnourished.

Meanwhile, get the scoop about these 8 common supplements and know if they really benefit you.

1. Beta-Carotene

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Generally, the recommended daily allowance for males is 3,000 IU and 2,130 IU for females. Natural sources include carrots, kale and cantaloupe. Although it claims to contain anti-cancer oxidants, no evidence has been shown that these supplements can prevent any cancer. In fact, they even increase lung cancer risks among smokers.

2. Folic Acid

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Aim to get a daily dosage of 400 milligrams from fortified bread, breakfast cereal, legumes and asparagus. Some pregnant women take it since it’s known to lower risks of neural tube defects in newborns. Some doctors however, caution against supplementing food with folic acid because they could be driving colon cancer rates.

3. Selenium

Get a dosage of 55 micrograms from sources like Brazil nuts, tuna, and beef. Despite claims that it can prevent prostate cancer, a major study found that selenium could actually increase high-grade prostate cancer risks in men who were already high in the mineral. People taking 200 micrograms a day of selenium could also increase risks of type 2 diabetes by 50 percent, says a 2007 study.

4. Vitamin B6

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Adults between ages 19 and 50 are advised to take 1.4 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily from sources like baked potatoes, bananas, and chickpeas. Men over 50 years should aim for 1.5 milligram and females 1.5 milligrams. While it’s used by some to enhance memory and reduce homocysteine (an amino acid associated with heart disease) levels, two studies failed to indicate cognitive benefits. Although B6 lowers homocysteine, it’s unknown if this too inhibits heart attack.

5. Vitamin B12

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Aim to get 2.4 micrograms daily from good sources like fish and shellfish, lean beef, and fortified breakfast cereal. Since Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among the elderly, supplements can help. But overdosage has not been shown to improve cognitive functions nor do they ramp up energy levels.  

6. Vitamin C

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Found mostly from citrus fruits and tomatoes, adult males and females should aim to get 90 and 75 milligrams of Vitamin C a day, respectively. Though it’s said to protect against the common cold, 30 reviewed clinical trials failed to show evidence, except for people who live in cold climates or those who run in marathons. So far, studies haven’t supported claims that extra doses of vitamin C can prevent cancer and heart disease.

7. Vitamin E

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Try to get 15 milligrams a day from sources like vegetable oil, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. While claims say that vitamin E supplements fight heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, no evidence backs such claims, except that mega doses may even raise stroke risks. However, one study showed that vitamin E from food and not supplements may help stop Alzheimer’s disease.

8. Zinc

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The daily recommended dosage for zinc, which is found in oysters, lean beef, and breakfast cereal, is 11 milligrams for males and 8 milligrams for females. While it is claimed that cold symptoms resolve faster among zinc users, some studies show no benefit. High doses are inadvisable because it can diminish the immune system.  

Source: The Healthy

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