What Vitamins Should I Take? Secrets Doctors Tell Their Friends

When physicians have heart-to-heart chats with their pals, their advice often differs from the medical standard.

Also in Reader's Digest Magazine August 2013

By Richard Laliberte from Reader's Digest Magazine | August 2013

Two vitamins to think twice about, according to The Doctors

There are plenty of good reasons to get more vitamins A and E from your diet, but studies find that taking them in pill form may not be beneficial, according to our physician advisers at the hit syndicated show The Doctors.

Vitamin A: Some research suggests that taking vitamin A supplements in amounts slightly higher than the RDA of 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women may reduce bone-mineral density and increase the risk of fractures. In addition, two clinical trials have found increased risks of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease in smokers who took high doses of beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A in the body).

Vitamin E: Researchers studying whether vitamin E helps prevent prostate cancer found that taking 400 IU a day—more than the recommended 22.4 IU but the amount typically found in pills—increased the risks by 17 percent. An earlier review of 19 clinical trials found that 400 IU a day may boost death rates. Other research suggests that vitamin E supplements may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Despite these findings, a 2012 study reports that 20 percent of men who visit urologists take vitamin E to prevent prostate cancer.


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