Vitamins

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    A number of vitamins and minerals have been tested in clinical trials to investigate whether taking large amounts could prevent cancer and other diseases. Generally, excessive vitamin levels had no preventive effect and in some cases were associated with increased cancer deaths. The research highlights the importance of sufficient but not excessive intake of vitamins and minerals.
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    Niacin (B3) is a nutrient commonly found in fortified food products. Excessive intake can cause skin reactions such as flushing and rash. It can also lead to nausea and liver toxicity. 
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    For vitamins and minerals, there are health risks to consuming too much as well as too little. Adequate amounts are essential to maintain health and prevent disease; historically deficiencies of essential vitamins have caused diseases such as scurvy, pellagra and rickets. In developed countries, however, economic advances over the last century have significantly improved diets, resulting in a better dietary supply of many nutrients. Paradoxically, however, widespread use of dietary supplements and extensive mandatory and voluntary fortification of foods with vitamins and minerals have created the opposite danger -- excessive intake. It’s still important for everyone to get an adequate supply of micronutrients, but it is also vital to make sure people don’t get too much of certain vitamins and minerals because overconsumption can also cause health problems.
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    AManuel Torres, MD, Family Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    People shouldn’t be relying on vitamins and minerals in pill form to provide the healthy nutrients their bodies need to work properly. Instead, focus your attention on getting your vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.
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    ARobin Miller, MD, Integrative Medicine, answered
    Are multivitamins a waste of money?
    The best way to get vitamins is from food, except for vitamin D, magnesium and calcium, which are sometimes hard for people to get into their diets. In this video, Robin Miller, MD, talks about where to get your vitamins.
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    APenn Medicine answered
    Prenatal vitamins do not increase the chances of becoming pregnant, but you should still take them every day. They are important for the health of a baby and can prevent specific birth defects in babies.
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    AManuel Torres, MD, Family Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    Your family doctor can be an excellent person to talk to about all of your nutritional needs, including taking vitamins. Family doctors specialize in general medicine and can offer advice on a broad range of health issues.

    If your doctor determines that you need a more specialized nutritional consultation, you may be referred to a dietitian. Often family doctors and specialists, including dietitians, work together to optimize their patients' medical care.
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    ADavid L. Katz, MD,MPH, Integrative Medicine, answered
    What are the risks involved with vitamin injection therapy?

    Most people take vitamins orally, but some turn to injection therapy. In this video, preventive medicine specialist David Katz, MD, reveals why these injections might be risky.

     

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    APhilip J. Landrigan, MD, Occupational Therapy, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
    Iron is one of the most toxic substances for children and represents one of the most common types of childhood poisonings. And we’re not just talking about adult iron supplements, either. Those yummy-tasting cartoon character or dinosaur-shaped vitamins with fruit candy flavors can just as easily cause iron poisoning. An overdose of iron causes abdominal cramps accompanied by stomach bleeding, followed by a quiet phase when the child seems fine. Then liver toxicity and breakdown of red bloodcells can occur. Iron poisoning can be deadly.
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    ARovenia Brock, PhD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Why should I take a multivitamin?
    Taking a daily multivitamin can help protect you against a poor or inadequate diet, but it can also help you to lose weight. Watch nutrition expert Rovenia Brock, PhD, explain the healthy benefits of taking a daily multivitamin, and how to take it. 
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