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Forget about these over-the-counter supplements that promise good health

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This is most likely owing to the pandemic since more of us bought immune-boosting medications like vitamins C and D. There’s a lot of evidence that those two vitamins are good for you. However, scientists have lately issued a warning against taking specific supplements.

According to a survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition in 2021, 80 percent of Americans take dietary supplements, up 7% over the previous year.

There’s a lot of evidence that those two vitamins are good for you. However, scientists have lately issued a warning against taking specific supplements.

These 5 dietary supplements are ineffective and potentially harmful

And the first one is B vitamins

B vitamins are required for energy synthesis in our bodies. However, many multivitamin formulae and energy supplements include exceptionally high amounts of vitamins and minerals, sometimes hundreds of times the daily recommended allowance. That might be harmful. High levels of B vitamins including B12 and B6 have been linked to an increased risk of some cancers in some studies. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s website, combining vitamin B12 with folate and B6 “may increase risk of lung or colorectal cancers. Additional studies are needed to determine how vitamin B12 levels may affect cancer risk.”

Another one is brain health supplements

In recent years, brain health has become a trendy topic, and social media is filled with advertisements for pills that promise brain-health benefits.

According to Harvard Medical School researchers, there is no scientific proof that these supplements are effective. Better, improve your brain function by making science-backed lifestyle changes like eating a nutritious diet (like the Mediterranean or DASH diets) and receiving lots of physical and mental exercise.

Beta-carotene and Vitamin E supplements

A draft statement issued by the United States Protective Task Force (USPTF) in May advised against consuming beta-carotene supplements Beta-carotene supplements have been demonstrated to raise the risk of lung cancer in persons who are already at a higher risk (such as people who smoke or have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace). Furthermore, five studies found that persons who took beta-carotene supplements had a statistically significant increased risk of cardiovascular disease death.

Additionally, the USPTF stated that the data was insufficient to recommend vitamin E supplementation.

“The evidence shows there is no benefit to taking vitamin E and that beta-carotene can be harmful because it increases the risk of lung cancer in people already at risk, such as those who smoke, and also increases the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke,” warned John Wong, MD, of Tufts Medical Center, in a statement.

Vitamin E also thins the blood, increasing the risk of major bleeding.

“Unless you have a reason to take vitamin E, you shouldn’t be taking it as a random supplement,” says Kathryn Boling, MD, a family medicine doctor with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “The risk outweighs the benefit.”

Vitamin B7 or Biotin

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is found in a variety of supplements that claim to boost hair, skin, and nail health. The issue is that there is no scientific proof to support those statements. In addition, high biotin doses (5 mg to 10 mg daily) have been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in men. Biotin supplements can potentially skew the findings of hormone and blood tests, such as the one used to diagnose heart attacks. In 2017, the FDA made an official warning following the death of a patient who was taking high dosages of biotin and whose physicians were unable to detect a heart attack using conventional blood tests.

Image Credit: Getty

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