According to John Hopkins Medicine, “50 percent of all adults in America—including 70 percent of those who are age 65 and older— are currently taking a multivitamin or another type of vitamin or mineral supplement on a daily basis,” yet do vitamins really make us healthy? Some experts think vitamins are useful and help to fill nutritional gaps, while others believe they’re a waste of money. While this issue won’t be fully resolved for some time, many people believe that certain vitamins can be harmful. Continue reading to learn more.
1 — What You Should Know About Vitamins Before You Take Them
Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. says, “Food processing destroys half of the vitamins and minerals in our meals. It’s impossible to get adequate levels of all of the minerals and vitamins without taking a multivitamin every day. Although the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) are sufficient to keep disease like scurvy at bay, they are nowhere near enough for optimal health. I do think that multivitamins should contain at least 50 mg of most B vitamins and 150 mg of magnesium. Consuming multivitamins has significant advantages for lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and a variety of other diseases. It’s like telling folks not to drink water because it just goes out in their urine.”
“While certain vitamins and supplements are available without a prescription, they may not only exacerbate specific medical conditions (such as asthma), but they could also impact (reduce or improve) other chronic medications absorption,” says Robert Alesiani (PharmD), Chief Pharmacotherapy Officer at Tabula Rasa Healthcare. “You should first consult your doctor or pharmacist before beginning a vitamin regimen to assess the proposed vitamin therapy and how it will affect your current medicines or chronic diseases.”
2 — Beta-Carotene
Dr. Teitelbaum cautions, “There are many different forms of vitamin A out there, and people require a balanced amount of each of them. Taking more than 5000 units per day of beta-carotene can make you have deficiencies in other parts of the vitamin A family, and could raise the chances of developing cancer.”
3 — Vitamin E
This is another type of vitamin that has a lot of different forms that the body needs. If your body has too much of one kind, it’s hard for it to find the other kinds when it is in need of them. Think of having a drawer that is full of silverware. If it has five spoons and forks but a thousand knives, it is difficult to find a spoon when you looking for it. This is the same way it is with vitamin E. Taking too much of one form will make it harder for your body to find the other forms when it needs them. Most vitamins contain the alpha-tocopherol type of vitamin E, due to it being low-cost and stable.
4 — Niacin
Dr. Alesiani explains, “Any over-the-counter Niacin might be used to help lower high cholesterol levels and/or high triglyceride levels. However, when you use them in conjunction with a statin, it raises the risk of rhabdomyolysis or myopathies, a condition where specific proteins, electrolytes and enzymes may be released into the body’s blood stream from damaged muscles which will lead to weakness and muscle pain. In severe cases, this may further damage the heart and kidneys, causing permanent disability.”