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Health: Vitamin Debate

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Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Taking vitamins is a daily routine for millions of people, but is it worth it? 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl says the answer can be yes, and no.

Vitamins and supplements are part of the daily routine for more than half of all Americans. It’s a 27 billion dollar industry.

People think it will make them healthier and prolong their life. And some vitamins do pack a needed health punch.

Folic acid is key for women who are or want to get pregnant. Omega 3’s are popular for their potential to help fight cardiovascular disease.

For strong bones, Dr. Joann Manson says, “women, because of the increased risk of osteoporosis and bone health problems, should be particularly vigilant about getting adequate vitamin d and calcium.” She has been studying the effects of vitamins for years. She cautions that mega doses of vitamins could be an unhealthy option.

“I think its very important for the public to understand that more is not necessarily better,” said Dr. Manson.

For example, too much iron has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

“Also men may want to avoid higher doses of vitamin E b/c it was recently linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Manson. She says the expected health boost from a multivitamin might be more fiction that fact.

“It’s really not of much value and may be a waste of money,” said Dr. Manson.

The experts agree, if you have a balanced diet you likely don’t need a multivitamin. In some cases it might even be bad for your health. A recent study found an increased risk of death in older women taking too many multivitamins or other supplements.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about what’s right or wrong for you.

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