There is a STRONG link between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and vitamin D deficiency

Image: There is a STRONG link between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and vitamin D deficiency

It seems that the sky’s the limit when it comes to the toxic effects of BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals. BPA and similar chemicals are known for their deleterious effects on the endocrine system,  cardiovascular system, and their ability to cause infertility and more. But recent research has shown that the hazards of BPA and other endocrine disruptors can even cause vitamin D deficiency — which can cause a whole host of other health issues.

Time and time again, big businesses manage to get their toxic chemicals approved by governing officials. And it is only after these toxins have become persistent in our environment, and exposure has become inevitable, that the true, sinister nature of these poisons is revealed.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that is responsible for many functions in the body. In addition to promoting bone health, vitamin D is highly regarded for its brain and immune system benefits. Consequently, deficiency in this nutrient is quite the concern. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an array of problems, including deficits in brain function and increased mortality risk. Vitamin D deficiency is something you want to avoid, to say the least.

A study by the Endocrine Society has shown that in addition to all the other ill effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like BPA, these toxins can cause vitamin D deficiency, too. Published in 2016, the Society’s examination of over 1300 studies on EDCs also found links to infertility, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems and hormone-related cancers, among other ails.

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Lauren Johns, MPH, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the study’s first author, commented on the research.

“Nearly every person on the planet is exposed to BPA and another class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals called phthalates, so the possibility that these chemicals may even slightly reduce vitamin D levels has widespread implications for public health,” she explained.

“Vitamin D plays a broad role in maintaining bone and muscle health. In addition, low vitamin D levels have been implicated in outcomes of numerous conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer,” Johns added.

Based on the team’s findings, people exposed to large amounts of EDCs are more prone to vitamin D deficiency — with women being more strongly affected than then men.

Professor John D. Meeker, MS, ScD, and senior author of the study, stated that more research is needed to understand how EDCs disrupt vitamin D levels. Meeker posited, “[B]ut it is possible that EDCs alter the active form of vitamin D in the body through some of the same mechanisms that they use to impact similar reproductive and thyroid hormones.” However, this is only a theory so far.

Hidden danger: EDCs are everywhere

As Natural Health 365 reports, EDCs like BPA are everywhere. There are over 85,000 manufactured chemicals on the market today, and many thousands of those are EDCs. BPA can be found in everything from water bottles to dental fillings, and is also used in medical devices, eyeglass lenses, sports equipment and and array of electronics. And that’s just one chemical — there are many other hormone-disrupting chemicals out there.

Phthalates, for example, are used in a litany of products, including personal care products, cosmetics, food packaging and more. Phthalates are also known for their ability to disrupt endocrine function and other adverse effects. Some ways you can reduce exposure to these compounds include choosing products that are BPA- and phthalate-free. Selecting glass, ceramic or other natural materials over plastic when possible is another tip.

Are the Elderly Really Taking Too Many Vitamins?

Story at-a-glance

  • According to The New York Times, studies have linked high-dose vitamin E with a higher risk of prostate cancer. In reality, a single study found a very small increase in prostate cancer among those using synthetic vitamin E
  • Studies looking at natural vitamin E show tocotrienols — specifically gamma tocotrienol — prevent prostate cancer and even kill prostate cancer stem cells. Gamma-tocotrienol may also be effective against existing prostate tumors
  • Your body’s ability to absorb B12 diminishes significantly with age, and Alzheimer’s symptoms are extremely similar to the symptoms of B12 deficiency
  • The New York Times also claims beta-carotene causes cancer. This myth is based on research showing smokers given a low dose of synthetic beta-carotene had a slightly increased risk of cancer. However, the treatment group had been smoking a year longer than the controls
  • When properly prescribed, and taken as directed, the death toll from drugs is between 85,000 to 135,000 Americans per year. There’s no evidence of dietary supplements having caused a single death in over 30 years

By Dr. Mercola

The conventional view of dietary supplements is, for the most part, predictably negative. The New York Times recently offered a perfect demonstration of this view in its April 3 article, “Older Americans Are ‘Hooked’ on Vitamins.”1 In this interview, Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service and author of “Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing That Works” and “Fire Your Doctor: How To Be Independently Healthy,” breaks down the myths and inaccuracies presented in that article.

While drug overdoses are currently killing 63,000 Americans each year — with opioids being responsible for nearly 50,000 of them and being a leading cause of death for Americans under 50 — the media is still pretending that people getting “hooked” on vitamins is a dangerous trend.

“The funny thing is that for those who are hooked on opioids, high doses of vitamin C had been shown — in two really good studies — to enable people to get off opioids without withdrawal symptoms, or greatly reduced withdrawal symptoms. Being hooked on vitamin C would actually help you get unhooked from heroin,” Saul notes.

Vitamin C — A Powerful Healer

Vitamin C is actually a very important and powerful detoxifier. In addition to helping you detox from drugs, this is also something to remember when you’re seeing a dentist. If you’re taking large doses of vitamin C, you may need a larger dose of anesthetic, as your body will break the drug down faster. On the other hand, loading up on vitamin C prior to a dental appointment will also quicken healing, sealing the gums faster, and reduce both bleeding and pain.

“If you have a tooth extraction or a root canal or anything that’s really invasive, vitamin C is the dentist’s best friend, because nothing makes gums stronger and quicker than vitamin C. Not only oral vitamin C; you can even take nonacidic vitamin C, such as calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate and put that right on the gums.

You can even put it right on the socket. People who have dry sockets or extended bleeding, when they use vitamin C topically — not ascorbic acid, mind you, but nonacidic C topically — they get immediate relief. It was Dr. Hugh Riordan at the now-famous Riordan Clinic who brought some of this forward decades ago. It’s good advice,” Saul says.

Do Seniors Need Vitamin Supplements?

Getting back to that New York Times article, “The Times has laid-off or fired a very large number of copyeditors … They wanted to save money, so they eliminated the copydesk. They got rid of about 100 copyeditors … In my opinion, this article is a good example of a piece that should have been properly copyedited and fact-checked, and wasn’t,” Saul says.

For example, it mentions that studies have linked high-dose vitamin E with a higher risk of prostate cancer. In reality, a single study found a very small, and possibly questionable, increase in prostate cancer among people in that particular study. Importantly, the study in question used synthetic vitamin E, not the natural E. They also used fairly low dosages.

The salient point here is that there are studies looking at natural vitamin E, using all four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. These studies were not quoted, even though two such studies show tocotrienols — specifically gamma tocotrienol — actually prevent prostate cancer2 and even kill prostate cancer stem cells.3

These are the cells from which prostate cancer actually develops. They are, or quickly become, chemotherapy-resistant. Yet, natural vitamin E complex is able to kill these stem cells. Mice given oral gamma-tocotrienol had an astonishing 75 percent decrease in tumor formation.

A third study4 found gamma-tocotrienol was also effective against existing prostate tumors by modulating cell growth and the apoptosis (cell death) response. “Now, that has got to be newsworthy. The New York Times decided that’s news not fit to print,” Saul says.

Are Seniors Really Getting All the Nutrients They Need From Their Diet?

The New York Times article also states that older Americans get plenty of essential nutrients in their diet, and that the Western diet is not short on vitamins. “This is demonstrably nonsense,” Saul says, adding “The elderly tend to have poor diets in general, especially those who live alone or are institutionalized.” There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • The elderly tend to have poor appetite due to higher rates of depression
  • As people get older, their sense of smell and, therefore, their sense of taste, diminishes
  • The elderly rarely drink enough water, as the sense of thirst diminishes with age

As noted by Saul, “If they’re not eating proper meals because they’re sad, depressed or lonely, or they’re just getting mediocre care, then they can’t possibly get enough nutrients — because even the paltry amount of nutrients in an American diet is not there if you don’t even eat the American diet.”

Most Seniors Are Deficient in B12, Magnesium and Vitamin D

Your body’s ability to absorb B12 also diminishes significantly with age, and Alzheimer’s symptoms are in fact extremely similar to the symptoms of severe B12 deficiency. Many clinicians would likely have a hard time distinguishing between the two.

“If B12 absorption is poor, and if the elderly are not eating proper meals, the amount of B12 in an older person is going to be low. For the article to say that it’s an abundant nutrient for the elderly is absolutely not true,” Saul says. There’s also ample evidence showing most soils are depleted of nutrients, which has led to lower nutrient values in whole foods. So, while Americans are not deficient in calories, many are indeed deficient in crucial nutrients.

“Dr. Abram Hoffer asked me years ago to write a paper on, ‘Can supplements take the place of a good diet?’ My comment was, ‘Well, they’re going to have to.’ Because people eat such lousy diets. If they’re going to eat lousy diets, it’s better to have a lousy diet and take supplements than to have a lousy diet without supplements. The solution, really, is to have a really good diet.

But I don’t have to tell you what a hospital diet looks like, or what a nursing home diet looks like. You don’t have to tell me what a school lunch diet looks like. These are really poor meals. You have exactly the wrong nutrients in abundance — the calorie nutrients. And then you have a dearth of the micronutrients.

One more thing:  the article talks about how there’s an abundance of nutrients and everybody gets enough. With the mineral magnesium, if you look over decades of studies, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey studies and all kinds of very large-scale studies of what people eat, magnesium deficiency is probably the most common mineral deficiency in the United States. Almost no Americans get the U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium …

The other one is vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is so prevalent in the elderly that half of the people hospitalized for hip fractures are demonstrably and measurably vitamin D-deficient. What’s really interesting is that the article says taking extra calcium did not help fractures. That’s not the point. It’s extra vitamin D and vitamin K that help put the calcium where it needs to be. They didn’t mention that.”

The Importance of Magnesium

Saul cites a Blue Cross Blue Shield study showing that seniors who took vitamin D supplements not only had fewer fractures, but they didn’t fall as often. “Vitamin D actually helps prevent the fracture by preventing falling,” Saul says. Magnesium deficiency is also problematic as it plays an important role in heart health and muscle function.

Magnesium may also help protect your body against the ravages of electrical pollution. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are pervasive everywhere these days, cause oxidative damage similar to that of smoking. Magnesium acts as a calcium-channel blocker, which appears to be one of the primary mechanisms through which EMFs cause oxidative stress. Hence, having enough magnesium in your body may be protective.

Types of Magnesium and Advice on Dosage

When it comes to oral magnesium supplementation, there’s the issue of it having a laxative effect, which can upset your microbiome. One simple solution to this is to take regular Epsom salts baths. It’s a good way to relax sore muscles, and your body will absorb the magnesium transdermally, meaning through your skin, bypassing your gastrointestinal tract altogether.

The worst form of magnesium, in terms of absorbability, is magnesium oxide, which incidentally is also the most common form available to consumers. Better alternatives include magnesium gluconate, magnesium citrate or magnesium chloride, the latter of which has the greatest absorbability of the three.

Two of my personal favorites are magnesium malate (malic acid) and magnesium threonate. Magnesium malate is a Krebs cycle intermediate and may help increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, while magnesium threonate has been shown to effectively penetrate the blood-brain barrier. So, for brain benefits, threonate appears to be preferable.

“If you take magnesium in small divided doses, you’re less likely to disturb your belly,” Saul says. “Some people don’t need to take a lot of extra magnesium; others do. It’s really a matter of [doing] a therapeutic trial. I would start small. Take your magnesium between meals and see when you feel better. It’s simply a matter of trial and error …

It was Dr. Richard Passwater who first brought that idea to me in the late ‘70s, in his wonderful book ‘Super-Nutrition: Megavitamin Revolution.’ He said, ‘To determine your dose of nutrients as you want to supplement with, start taking them and see if you feel better. If you do, take a little more. If you’re feeling still better, then use the higher dose. If you don’t feel any better, go to the lower dose that gets the most results.

I just love that. It’s so simple. We can all do this, and should. That doesn’t mean you’re hooked on vitamins, folks. It means that you’re an intelligent human being. How intelligent? Well, at least half of all Americans are taking vitamins every day. With the elderly, it may be as high as two-thirds. I have heard, unofficially, that among physicians, 3 out of 4 doctors take supplements regularly. They just don’t talk about it.”

When I was still practicing, intravenous magnesium was one of the minerals I regularly used for acute migraines, infections and asthma attacks. In high doses, magnesium has a very potent vasodilatory effect. In fact, if administered too quickly, it’s almost like a niacin flush. But it was profoundly effective for aborting migraines and asthma attacks, and rapidly resolved coughs and colds. Magnesium will also help prevent and/or ease menstrual cramps.

Does Beta-Carotene Cause Cancer?

The New York Times also revisited the age-old myth that beta-carotene causes cancer. This fallacy is based on research from the 1990s that found a certain population of men in Finland, when given 20 milligrams of beta-carotene a day — the equivalent found in two or three carrots — had a very small but widely touted increase in cancer.

What is regularly not mentioned is the fact that they were heavy smokers, and the treatment group had been smoking a year longer than the controls. The patients also were not prescreened to see if they had any precancerous conditions.

“People say to me, ‘Beta-carotene can cause cancer.’ No. Smoking causes cancer. ‘Beta-carotene can be harmful.’ No. Cigarettes are harmful. SMOKING is what’s harmful to smokers. The problem, folks, is not the carrots,” Saul says. Another significant variable that may have played a role is the fact that they used synthetic beta-carotene.

“The study is a bad study. Therefore, The New York Times should know better than to quote it. They not only quote it, they kind of misquote it because they don’t use the word ‘smoker,’” Saul says. “If you’re hooked on cigarettes, you’re going to have problems. If you’re hooked on vitamins, you’re not.

This brings us to the fundamental question of what kills and what wastes money. Consumer Reports estimates that $200 billion a year is spent on incorrect harmful medication. The entire food supplement industry worldwide is one-fifth of that, at most. We are wasting huge amounts on giving drugs that are harmful and complaining about the people who are doing good preventive care and taking their vitamins.”

Supplements Versus Drugs — What’s More Dangerous?

Saul also notes that Harvard School of Public Health has assessed the role of drugs in deaths at great depth. When properly prescribed and taken as directed, the lowest estimated death toll from pharmaceutical drugs is still around 85,000 people a year. The high estimate is around 135,000 people annually, while the generally accepted estimate is about 106,000 people a year.

That’s 106,000 dead Americans every year from properly prescribed drugs, not medical errors; drugs taken as directed, not overdose. That means that each decade, “normal” side effects of drugs are killing about 1 million people in the U.S.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), which has been tracking this information for over three decades, there have been 13 alleged deaths from vitamins in 31 years. However, Saul notes, “My team looked into this and we could not find substantiation, documentation, proof or convincing evidence of one single death … from vitamins in the last 31 years.” In most cases, the individual was taking both drugs and vitamins.

This year, the AAPCC actually removed the vitamin category, because it’s always been zero. “Personally, I think they got tired of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service saying, ‘No deaths from vitamins. No deaths from minerals. No deaths from amino acids. No deaths from herbals. No deaths from homeopathic substances,’” Saul says.5,6

“These alternative treatments are effective. They’re safe, and they’re cheap. I want to emphasize they are safe. People are dying in our land and in our world because we’re giving them dangerous drugs. Dr. Hoffer once said, ‘Drugs make a well person sick. Why would they make a sick person well?’ …

Vitamins are not the problem. They’re the solution. If we had better-nourished Americans, we’d save a pile on our $3 trillion-plus disease care bill. It’s good that older Americans take supplements. I don’t mean to do it foolishly. If you take a look, most people are actually smarter than we give them credit for. Taking a multivitamin for instance, especially if it’s a good-quality natural multivitamin, is just a really good idea.”

Growing Your Own Food Is Part of the Solution

As a general rule, most Americans are not getting enough vitamins, minerals and micronutrients from their foods, in large part thanks to the prevalence of processed foods. Dietary supplements, especially if your diet is largely processed, is generally advisable. In the long term, growing more nutrient-dense food is a big part of the answer.

Garden-grown organic vegetables and fruits are nutrient-rich and represent the freshest produce available. Growing your own crops not only improves your diet, but it also:

  • Enhances and protects precious topsoil
  • Encourages composting, which can be used to feed and nourish your plants
  • Minimizes your exposure to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other toxins
  • Promotes biodiversity by creating a natural habitat for animals, birds, insects and other living organisms
  • Improves your fitness level, mood and sense of well-being, making gardening a form of exercise

While gardens have many benefits, the most important reason you should plant a garden (especially given the many issues associated with industrial agriculture) is because gardening helps create a more sustainable global food system, giving you and others access to fresh, healthy, nutrient-dense food. If you are new to gardening and unsure about where to start, consider sprouts.

Sprouts are an easy-to-grow, but often overlooked, superfood with a superior nutritional profile. You can grow sprouts even if you don’t have an outdoor garden, and you should consider them if you live in an apartment or condo where space is limited.

“No matter where you are, there’s a way that we can [grow our own food]. We’ve been taught to be consumers of medical care instead of self-reliant people. We’ve been taught to be patients and not persons. To change this around, we have to give ourselves permission to take the power, to do what our body should have been doing all along. We’ve been misled.

I think maybe profit has a little bit to do with this. The pharmaceutical industry is making an awful lot of dough these days. I know people who take pills that cost $1,000 apiece. Don’t tell me I’m hooked on vitamins and I’m wasting my money and having expensive urine. I don’t need to hear that. I find that taking vitamins is very helpful to me, my children and my grandchildren …

For people who think they can’t, you’re wrong. You can. You can do this right away. You can eat better. One of the few free decisions we make every day is whether we will or will not exercise, whether we will or not eat this or that, whether we will or not say no to pharmaceutical drugs or over-the-counter drugs. Every single incremental advancement that you make is going to make your body happy. You’re going to see the difference. All you’ve got to do is try it.”

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We should never have told people to start taking vitamins.

It seems like simple, obvious advice: Eat your vegetables, get some exercise, and, of course, take your vitamins.

Or not.

Decades of research has failed to find substantial evidence that vitamins and supplements do any significant good.

Nevertheless, several shiny new pills and powders have materialized in recent years that promise to deliver health and wellness in ways no other vitamin has before.


One of them, called Ritual , arrives at your doorstep in a bright white and highlighter-yellow box. Inside, you’ll find a 1-month supply of pills. These aren’t your grandma’s vitamins. Each pill is a clear, glass-like capsule filled with a handful of tiny white beads that float suspended in oil.

Despite the fact that each pill is practically a work of art, Ritual’s pills don’t differ much from your standard vitamin. They contain less of some traditional vitamin ingredients that decades of research have shown we don’t need, but have similar amounts of magnesium, Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin B12, iron, boron, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D as a standard Alive-brand vitamin.

Another one of these newly-designed vitamins is Care/of , whose personalized daily vitamin packets come in a box that looks like a tea-bag dispenser with the words “Hi [your name],” printed on the top right corner. Again, the ingredients don’t differ drastically from those in conventional vitamins.

No matter how colorful their packaging or personal their messaging, all of these vitamin formulations fall prey to the exact same problem: We simply do not need vitamins to be healthy. Instead, we should be getting the nutrients that vitamin-makers peddle from the foods we eat.

“We use vitamins as insurance policies against whatever else we might (or might not) be eating, as if by atoning for our other nutritional sins, vitamins can save us from ourselves,” writes science reporter Catherine Price in the book ” Vitamania.

Here’s the thing: They can’t.

Virtually any registered dietitian, doctor, public health expert , or physician will likely reiterate some version of the advice health professionals have been giving for decades. Eat real food. Eat fruits and veggies. Eat in moderation. Stay away from processed foods and sugary beverages when you can. Or, in the words of the well-known journalist and food writer Michael Pollan , “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

There’s another reason to stay away from most pills and powders: Some can be harmful. Several supplements have been linked with an increase in certain cancers , for example, while others have been associated with arisk of kidney stones .

In her book, Price suggests that this knowledge about vitamins might help us “rediscover something both surprising and empowering: that, while nutrition itself is amazingly complex, the healthiest, most scientific, and most pleasurable way to eat is not that complicated at all.”

Fish Oil Supplements, Vitamins Won’t Lower Your Cholesterol .

If you’re taking supplements like fish oil or a multi-vitamin in the hopes of improving your cholesterol counts, save your money. There are better, more effective strategies.

There’s no scientific evidence that fish oil supplements will lower your cholesterol, says Julia Zumpano. Ms. Zumpano is a registered dietitian in Cleveland Clinic’s section of Preventive Cardiology.

Fish oil will not prevent heart disease. It can, however, help to manage some of your risk factors, Zumpano says.

Lowered triglycerides

Some studies have shown that fish oil can lower triglycerides and helps to thin the blood. But it’s unclear how many fish oil supplements you need to take every day to reap the benefits.

Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils. If you have high concentrations of triglycerides in the blood, it may indicate an elevated risk of stroke.

“There’s no need to take fish oil from a supplement if you’re just generally trying to focus on heart health,” Zumpano says.

“More important, if you have a history of high triglycerides, that’s something you may want to take fish oil for,” Ms. Zumpano says.

Tempted to try a fish oil supplement to lower your triglycerides? Ms. Zumpano says check with your doctor first to see if it might help.

fish oil supplements in a sardine can

Vitamins and heart disease

A recent survey found that almost half of the respondents think vitamins can help lower cholesterol. But vitamins are less vital to heart disease prevention than most people think.

Taking a multi-vitamin every day will not compensate for eating food that’s high in cholesterol. Nor will a multi-vitamin repair the damage done by a poor diet.

“A daily multi-vitamin is not preventing your risk of heart disease,” Zumpano says. “A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol can result in an increase in blood cholesterol.”

Besides, you can get all the vitamins you need from your diet, Zumpano says. A heart-healthy diet should include seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

A good diet plus exercise will do more to keep your heart healthy than popping supplements, Zumpano says.

“Eating a healthy diet, exercising and knowing your risk factors are the best ways to prevent heart disease,” Zumpano says. “It doesn’t come in a pill.”

5 Vitamins You Might Be Overdoing.

Americans aren’t eating as many fruits and vegetables as we should be. In fact, Americans nationwide are significantly below the fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA.

Enter supplements. As people seek alternative sources of crucial vitamins and minerals, supplement intake has skyrocketed. Supplements can be helpful, but getting nutrients in a pill rather than food is not always the best way to improve your health. In some cases, it can even hurt.

vitamins you may be overdoing

Here are five vitamins and minerals you may be overdoing if you pop them as pills.

Iron and Copper

Iron plays a key role in younger women’s diets for menstrual cycles and pregnancy, but the recommendations for iron after menopause decrease significantly. Despite the lower guidelines (8 mg per day after age 50) many postmenopausal women still take supplements that contain iron. The risks of getting too much iron include a condition called hemochromatosis, which can damage your organs. Further, a 2010 study linked excess iron and copper to increased incidence of alzheimers disease and heart disease.

“Getting nutrients in a supplement rather than food is not always the best way to improve your health. Here are five vitamins and minerals you may be overdoing if you pop them as pills.”
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

Wellness Institute

Best bet: If you’re over 50, ditch the multivitamins with iron and copper unless a doctor instructs you to take them.


Beta-carotene and vitamin A — which is formed by beta-carotene — is easy to consume. If you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, anything orange (carrots, sweet potatoes) for lunch and then a multivitamin or supplement for eye health, you’ve probably consumed too much. Too much beta-carotene has been associated with increased risk for lung cancer and overall increased risk of death.

Best bet: Skip the supplement and stick to food sources such as sweet potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, red bell peppers, carrots and spinach.

Vitamin C

When most people think of vitamin C, they think of oranges. But if your first thought is a vitamin C pill, you may be overdoing it. A recent study found that men who took vitamin C pills had higher risk for developing kidney stones.

Best bet: Enjoy the culinary delights of vitamin-C rich foods such as papaya, strawberries, brussels sprouts and kale. But don’t take extra unless a doctor advises you to.


While calcium is important for strong bones, data suggests getting too much of it can strain your heart. Studies have suggested that women who take high amounts of calcium increase their risk of cardiac death and moderately increase their risk for heart attack.

Best bet: To avoid overdoing it, get your calcium through food sources such as dairy, tofu, sardines, broccoli and almonds. If you think you need supplemental calcium, talk to a doctor before buying a bottle.

The recommended daily allowance for any vitamin or mineral will depend on your age, medical conditions and other factors, and a doctor or registered dietitian can help you fine-tune your intake.

You may also notice a common theme here: Most vitamins and minerals are best obtained and absorbed through real food. To ensure you’re getting enough — but not too much — of any vitamin or mineral, avoid supplements that contain “mega doses” unless your doctor recommends them for medical reasons.