Author warns consumers to avoid 'megavitamins' - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Author warns consumers to avoid 'megavitamins'

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© Taking vitamins may help some people who don't eat well, but taking mega doses can be harmful. (Source: CNN) © Taking vitamins may help some people who don't eat well, but taking mega doses can be harmful. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) – Many people use vitamins to make up for deficiencies in their diets, but one author warns taking them in a certain way could actually be a bad thing for your health.

If someone eats poorly, taking a multivitamin may help, but a new book warns that taking supplements in extremely high doses may be dangerous.

Mega doses of certain vitamins may increase the risk for heart disease and cancer, says author of the book Do You Believe in Magic? Dr. Paul Offit.

Mega doses of vitamins include doses that are five, 10 sometimes 20 times greater than the recommended daily allowance for these nutrients.

"By challenging mother nature in taking these vitamins and concentrating them to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat, you've got to be careful," Offit said.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association which represents the supplement industry has said there is research underscoring the benefits of multivitamins, but said in a statement that the consumer must take precautions.

"Consumers should always use caution when considering ‘mega doses' of any supplements carefully research these choices and consult a healthcare professional with questions," the statement said.

Offit suggests eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, would decrease the need of taking a multivitamin and decrease the risk for cancer, heart disease and increase one's life span.

Copyright 2013 CNN. All rights reserved.

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