New report suggests steering clear of some supplements, multivitamins

Posted at 9:00 PM, Oct 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-16 23:00:58-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Nearly half of the country takes supplements and multivitamins, but a new report suggests many of us may be over doing it, and actually putting our health at risk.

With more and more options every day, shopping for vitamins and supplements can become a challenge. Consumer Jennifer Cook said caution is important.

"I'm pretty careful, and I'm very careful about what I give to my kids,” she said.

That careful attitude is key, according to a new report from Forbes listing five vitamins that can be harmful if taken in large doses. First on the list is vitamin C. Doctors said people usually get enough of it on their own, and too much can be painful. Dr. W. Rafer Leach said spending money on vitamin C may be unnecessary.

"Kidney stones are the classic for excessive vitamin C because you excrete it through your urine, anything your body doesn't use, so really you just have really expensive urine if you're taking a ton of vitamin C,” Leach said.

The other vitamins on the list include vitamins E, A and B6, which can also be harmful if you take too much.

"They can build up in your lipid tissues, your fat tissues in your body, so those are toxic because they can truly build up way above that which you would want in your body,” Leach said.

Nutrition Educator Amy Lucariello of Vitamin Cottage said just reading the bottle isn’t enough when choosing to supplement.

"We always recommend that customers seek medical advice before starting any supplement regiment of any kind,” she said.

Cook said it’s also important to keep careful notes.

"Every time I go to the Doctor, I write down everything that I do take, just in case there's a reaction or because of the interaction,” she said.

The Forbes list also recommended steering clear of multivitamins, citing a recent study that found they had little to no benefit.  But there are conflicting studies, and some doctors said they have no problem with patients taking a multivitamin once a day.