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Vitamin Supplement Risks

April 23, 2015

Research shows that vitamin pills are no replacement for vitamins in healthful food, and taking too many supplements can even have health risks.



val'sphotos flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Vitamins in pill form can’t compete with those provided by fruits and vegetables.(val’sphotos/flickr/Creative Commons License BY-NC 2.0)

Going overboard with vitamins. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Foods that are high in vitamins have positive health benefits, including lowering cancer risk. But University of Colorado epidemiologist Tim Byers says thirty years of research shows that pills high in vitamins don’t seem to have the same effects.

TIM BYERS (University of Colorado Cancer Center):

The take-home message at this point is that vitamin pills do not seem to substitute in any way for healthy diets, and in some cases can actually have adverse effects.


Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, he said that while a standard multivitamin is fine, taking high doses of vitamins may elevate cancer and heart disease risk. Byers says that in addition to vitamins, other over the counter nutritional supplements may also pose risks since few have been rigorously tested for either safety or efficacy. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.