Can vitamin supplements do more harm than good?

Are we wasting our money on vitamin supplements as a result of misleading consumer information?

Vitamin supplements could be doing us more harm than good, according to new research by Which?.

The product-testing charity has found that an alarming number of products are labeled with misleading or insufficient information, leading us to take incorrect doses and potentially damage our health.

‘We are concerned that people are being taken for a ride, needlessly paying a premium for many products on the basis of health claims that haven’t been backed up by scientific evidence,’ says Peter Vicary-Smith, Chief executive of Which?

‘Researchers also found high-strength supplement products containing vitamin B6 and beta-carotene on sale, without the recommended warnings that taking too much of them could be harmful.’

An online survey of 1,263 people conducted by Which? revealed that a third of British supplement takers are unaware that overdosing on a certain vitamins or health supplements could potentially damage wellbeing and cause more harm than good.

Certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, can’t be stored in the body and so are safe to take in excess. However, vitamins such as E, A and D are stored in the body and therefore it is possible to take too much and cause health problems.

Mr Vicary Smith is urging the European Commission to release a list of acceptable and non-acceptable claims, ensuring that labels inform us correctly and don’t fool us into believing false claims.

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