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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Vitamin MYTH - (Part 2)

Dosage Dangers: Most people think of vitamins as natural and safe since they're sold over the counter everywhere, including health food stores. And many consumers figure you can't get too much of a good thing. But you can, particularly if you're on prescription drugs.

What consumers tend to forget is that many processed foods and so called diet foods, from crackers to energy bars, are "fortified" with additional vitamins and minerals. Even some bottled waters, juices and sodas have added them in an effort to appear more healthy. Eat and drink enough of these products, take a few pills, and you could be overdosing.

  • Vitamin E - Large doses can thin the blood and may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in those with uncontrolled blood pressure. Has not been proven to protect the heart or prevent cancer.
    RDA 15mg. An ounce of dry-roasted almonds will provide almost half your daily needs.

  • Selenium - Most Americans get enough of this trace mineral in their diet. One new study suggests that adding more pills may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
    RDA 55mcg. Grab a tuna sandwich or a handful of Brazil nuts instead.

  • Folic Acid- It's a must during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects, but recent studies show no real effect for the rest of us against heart disease, cancer or depression. The connection between folate and reduced risk of Alzheimer's is not yet conclusive either.
    RDA 400mcg. Find it in dark green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, and whole-grain breads.