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5 Everyday Supplements That Can Hurt Your Health

Taking extra may seem like a smart idea, but it could be harmful


(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com.)

The dietary supplements industry rakes in more than $36 billion a year — about 65 percent of adults aged 60 or older take at least one every day. But are you taking them the right way?

“If a person at any age is taking a vitamin or mineral supplement as a substitute for a healthful diet, then that’s undesirable,” says Sharon Akabas, associate director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University. “If you take more than the recommended amounts, that’s the main problem.”

And if you faithfully pop your multivitamin once daily? “On the whole, we are unaware of any conditions that make recommended daily amounts (RDA) dangerous or risky,” says Paul Thomas, scientific consultant to National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements. “The risk increases when people go beyond a one-a-day multivitamin and are taking large amounts of individual nutrients as part of self-care regimen without enough knowledge of the ways it could affect their health.”

Note: Always consult with your primary care doctor before adjusting any of your dietary or supplement habits. For more information, visit ods.od.nih.gov.

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