First came the news that herbal and dietary supplements don’t always contain what they say is inside the bottle.
Then came Consumer Reports saying there are 15 dangerous ingredients in dietary supplements that should be avoided at all costs.
Now comes word that many of the popular vitamins people like to take may be ineffective at best and downright harmful at worst!
BusinessInsider.com recently came up with the following list of vitamins that are all hype and those that actually give you some benefit. In many cases, it’s cheaper to add a certain food to your diet rather than to pay for an expensive supplement!
Take these vitamins
There’s a shortage of Vitamin D in many of the foods we eat, yet we need it to help absorb calcium for strong bones.
Sunlight is one viable (and free!) source of this vitamin, but as we get deeper into autumn, the idea of catching a few rays usually recedes from our minds until spring.
That’s where a good Vitamin D supplement can come in handy. The National Academy of Medicine recommends between 600 and 800 IU (international units) daily for most adults.
Want to shorten the duration of a cold? Forget about Vitamic C. This is what you need!
According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc can mess up the ability of rhinoviruses to replicate and lessen the amount of time you feel under the weather.
How much should you take? The Mayo Clinic recommends between 12 to 15 milligrams a day.
If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you probably know this one already.
Folic acid helps our bodies make new cells. In pregnant women, it reduces the likelihood of neural-tube defects in babies.
The National Institutes of Health says women who are currently pregnant or who want to get pregnant need 400 micrograms of folic acid each day.
Don’t take these vitamins
Forget the Flintstones multivitamins! A balanced diet gives you everything you need.
And this is one that can actually do more harm than good: A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that senior women who were tracked over 25 years of taking multivitamins had a higher overall risk of death than women who did not take multivitamins.
Antioxidants (Vitamins A, C and E)
Berries and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants like A, C and E. When you get your vitamins from a healthy and balanced diet, it’s unlikely that you’ll get too much of any one nutrient.
That’s a good thing because, well, too much of certain antioxidants isn’t a good thing! Men who regularly took Vitamin A were found to be more likely to develop lung cancer than those who didn’t, according to a study from the American Cancer Institute.
Think B3 is a wonder vitamin? Think again.
A 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine linked B3 supplements to infections, liver problems and internal bleeding. And that’s in the midst of a study that was intended to show B3 could raise people’s ‘good’ cholesterol levels and minimize risk of heart attacks, strokes, or deaths among patients with heart disease—which it failed to do.
So no need to get a supplement for this one. Just eat foods rich in B3 and you won’t have to worry about overdoing it. Try salmon, tuna and beets for starters.
The efficacy of these highly-touted ‘good’ bacterial supplements for our digestive tracts isn’t firmly established yet.
So skip the powdered and costly probiotic supplements from the supermarket. Eat yogurt and other fermented foods instead and you’ll be on your way to a happy belly!