Vitamins: Too Much Of A Not-so-good Thing?

Dr. Paul Offit says everyone should be more skeptical about taking large doses of vitamins.

“But you can, by challenging Mother Nature and taking these vitamins and concentrating them to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat.” Opinion: Alternative healing or quackery? You may have heard the term “antioxidant” as a buzzword that applies to some vitamins. Antioxidants combat free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation, according to the National Institutes of Health . Free radicals damage cell membranes and DNA. Doctors recommend a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants to prevent this from happening and apparently decreasing the risk of conditions such as cancer and heart disease. However, oxidation is necessary for life, and preventing too much of this process can be a bad thing because cells that need to be destroyed, such as cancer cells, won’t be.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/19/health/vitamins-offit/index.html

ESSAY; When ‘Health’ Supplements May Do Harm

Then she showed me over half a dozen products, from $8 to $36 apiece, and assured me that they would address a variety of health risks. These products included a pill that was supposed to improve my circulation and another that would supposedly boost my ”metabolism.” Another was listed as an herbal ”vascular health” pill, with a long list of plant species names, none of them familiar. Most products had labels containing descriptions of vague medical benefits, like ”for cardiovascular health,” with a notation that the Food and Drug Administration had not evaluated these claims. I asked the clerk about proof that these pills worked and about risks when taking these various agents together.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/17/health/essay-when-health-supplements-may-do-harm.html

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