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I'm a Doctor and Beg You Never Ingest This Vitamin

MD explains what to know about vitamins and why you should avoid these three. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

We all know that nutrients are essential for our overall well-being and most of what we need is found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables, but for those who don't follow a balanced diet or who have certain medical conditions, vitamin deficiencies are real. So taking a supplement might seem like a good idea, but some can actually be really harmful and should be avoided. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD, Clearing Chief Medical Officer who reveals which vitamins to stay away from and why. As always, please consult with your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Calcium

Calcium supplement tablet pills on dark wooden background
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Dr. Hascalovici says, "Often touted as good for the bones, calcium ingested as a supplement has been linked to higher risks of heart attacks. As scientists learn more about calcium supplementation, it appears that it may be wiser to ingest calcium through foods rather than as stand-alone supplements. Even if you are concerned about osteoporosis, it's good to double check with a medical professional to ensure calcium supplementation is the right answer for you." 

2

Ginkgo Biloba

Young Woman Taking Yellow Fish Oil Pill.
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According to Dr. Hascalovici, "Ginkgo biloba is natural and often viewed as beneficial for memory and blood flow. However, ginkgo biloba can interfere with many common medications, including drugs for mood disorders, diabetes, and pain, sometimes with very negative consequences. People with epilepsy should generally steer clear of ginkgo biloba, as it can lead to seizures." 

3

Beta Carotene

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Dr. Hascalovici states, "Beta-carotene, which makes vitamin A, can unfortunately be overdone. In one study, researchers found that among men, beta-carotene supplementation was associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. Better to get your beta-carotene and vitamin A from sweet potatoes, carrots, and other bright veggies."

4

It's Possible to Overdose on Vitamins

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Dr. Hascalovici tells us, "While vitamins and supplements are often presented as innocuous, it's not always advisable to take more than 100% of the recommended dose of any particular vitamin or supplement. For one thing, the body cannot always process or use that high of a daily dose. For another, certain vitamins and supplements can interfere with other vitamins, supplements, or bodily functions. Finally, it is possible to ingest too much of certain vitamins, minerals, and supplements, which can lead to health problems." 

5

Vitamins are Not Regulated by the FDA

Female doctor talking while explaining medical treatment to patient through a video call with laptop in the consultation.
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Dr. Hascalovici explains, "Vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the same FDA protocols as medication is, and so they may not be as comprehensively tested. For many reasons, it's best to talk to your doctor or nutritionist before starting on vitamins and supplements outside of your normal diet. Independent certification can be a sign of a company that values quality and may not be introducing contaminants; you can also check the FDA's Tainted Supplements List. Overall, it's best to exercise care, be wary of claims that seem exaggerated, and check consumer review sites to make sure your supplements are top shelf."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more