CommonHealth: Demystifying Vitamins

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Do vitamins make us healthier? (bradley j/flickr)

For millions of Americans, a morning routine might go something like this: bowl of cereal, cup of coffee, newspaper and....a multivitamin. Most of us take vitamins because we think they give us the extra nutrients we need for good health. Well, The New York Times published an article last weekend with a provocative headline: "Don't Take Your Vitamins." The author of the article, infectious disease specialist Paul Offit, says that vitamins in large quantities may actually be harmful.


Carey Golberg, co-host of WBUR's CommonHealth blog

Pieter Cohen, assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance


CommonHealth: "I used to pop a multivitamin every day. You’re just supposed to, right? Then I started paying closer attention to the research, and I dropped them from my morning routine."

The New York Times: "Nutrition experts argue that people need only the recommended daily allowance — the amount of vitamins found in a routine diet. Vitamin manufacturers argue that a regular diet doesn’t contain enough vitamins, and that more is better. Most people assume that, at the very least, excess vitamins can’t do any harm. It turns out, however, that scientists have known for years that large quantities of supplemental vitamins can be quite harmful indeed."

This segment aired on June 11, 2013.


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