November 24, 2015

Eat your vegetables, make time for exercise, and — of course — take your vitamins. Scientists have been doing research for a while now and they have yet to find any substantial evidence that vitamins and supplements do any significant good. In fact, recent studies have shown that certain vitamins may be bad for you.

Several supplements have been linked to an increase in certain cancers, for example, while others have been associated with a rise in the risk of kidney stones.

These are the vitamins and supplements you should take — and the ones you should avoid (courtesy of Business Insider):

Multivitamins: Skip them — you get everything you need with a balanced diet.

For decades, it was assumed that multivitamins were critical to overall health. Vitamin C to “boost your immune system,” Vitamin A to protect your vision, Vitamin B to keep you energized.

Not only do you already get these ingredients from the food you eat, but studies suggest that consuming them in excess can actually cause harm.

Vitamin D: Take it — It helps keep your bones to be strong and it’s hard to get from food. Vitamin D isn’t present in most of the foods we eat, but it’s a critical ingredient that keeps our bones strong by helping us absorb calcium. Getting sunlight helps our bodies produce it as well, but it can be tough to get enough in the winter. Several recent study reviews have found that people who took Vitamin D supplements daily lived longer, on average, than those who didn’t. Natural foods high in vitamin D include fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.

Antioxidants: Skip them — an excess of these has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, and you can eat berries instead.

Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants found in plentiful form in many fruits — especially berries — and veggies, and they’ve been touted for their alleged ability to protect against cancer. One cup of blackberries contains the most antioxidants of all the berries tested, beating out blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries. But studies suggest that when taken in excess, antioxidants can actually be harmful.

Vitamin C: Skip it — it probably won’t help you get over your cold, and you can eat citrus fruits instead. The Vitamin C hype — which started with a suggestion from chemist Linus Pauling made in the 1970s and has peaked with Airborne and Emergen-C — is just that: hype. Study after study has shown that Vitamin C does little to nothing to prevent the common cold. So get your Vitamin C from your food instead. Strawberries are packed with the nutrient, other foods that have the vitamin include bell peppers, dark leafy greenskiwi fruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas.

Vitamin B3: Skip it and eat salmon, tuna, or beets instead. For years, Vitamin B3 was promoted to treat everything from Alzheimer’s to heart disease. But recent studies have called for an end to the over-prescription of the nutrient. This is a list of High protein foods: meat, liver, and peanuts, also milk, rice and wheat, fortified bread and cereal, carrot leaves, turnips, and celery leaves, sunflower seeds and almonds, and fish.

Folic acid: Take it if you’re pregnant or if you might want to get pregnant. Folic acid is a B vitamin which our bodies use to make new cells. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women who are currently pregnant or who want to get pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily because their bodies demand more of this key nutrient when they are carrying a growing fetus.

Vitamin E: Skip it — an excess has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, and you can eat spinach instead.

Zinc: Take it — it’s one of the only ingredients linked to shortening a cold.