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Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Men

Experts weigh in on whether men should take vitamin and mineral supplements.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Whatever benefits supplements may prove to impart, you still need to be careful about just how much you take. More does not mean better. In fact, taking too much of some vitamins can cause serious problems. An excess of vitamin A, for example, can damage your liver. Although this is rarely a problem from food, supplements make excess amounts easier to consume.

"For vitamin A, toxicity is very well established at high levels," Shao says. "For most nutrients, there is a very wide range between what can be found in high-potency supplements and toxicity… Nutrients are native and essential to the body, and most have subtle or no side effects even up to extremely high levels. With Vitamin A, there's not as much of a safety range.”

To be on the safe side, Grotto says, "I steer people away from high-potency vitamins.”

Food for Thought

Despite the debate, nearly half of American adults take some form of supplement. Grotto says that a recent survey of dietitians revealed that as many as 96% of respondents were doing the same.

"The promise of supplements is to reduce the risk of disease and maintain health and wellness," Shao says. But he says a good diet "should take a food-first approach.”

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Reviewed on March 18, 2010

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