Health

Mar 27, 2013 7:46 AM by Elizabeth Hill

What to know before taking vitamins and supplements

Women have been told for years that taking calcium supplements can help lower the risk of osteoporosis, but now, some doctors have reversed that recommendation.

New studies show, common doses of calcium and Vitamin D don't prevent fractures in post-menopausal women and may even raise the risk of kidney stones.

This comes on the heels of two other studies linking high calcium levels from supplements to heart disease.

These findings might lead you to wonder, do you know what you're taking and why when you take those daily vitamins?

Between the internet, TV and magazines we're constantly inundated with a wealth of health news.

"Whatever the hot topic is that's what they're coming in an asking about."

Clinical pharmacist Mandie Romero says you have to check your sources.

"They have to really look at where the literature is coming from maybe also what the motivating factor is."

Cardiologist Dr. Lester Ducote agrees you can't take every study at face value.

"They'll take one particular vitamin and try to prove that it's good or bad and in reality, in nature, all of these vitamins work together."

Calcium is a perfect example of that. Romero says taken alone calcium can be harmful, but combined can be very effective.

"The calcium can be distributed in different ways, it has to have other nutrients to help direct where it's deposited."

Ducote says vitamins shouldn't be a substitute for healthy living or healthy eating. In fact, he says, taking more than your body needs won't do you any good.

"Your body extracts what it needs and what it doesn't need you excrete it one way or another."

Ducote and Romero agree, it is important to make sure the vitamins you are taking are high quality. They say you should talk to your doctor about deficiencies you may have and possible drug interactions. Doctors say, for most healthy people, one daily multi-vitamin is a good choice.

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