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Dr. Oz's No. 1 Recommended Supplement plus a Warning from Consumer Reports

Tim Boyer's picture
Dr. Oz supplement warning

On a new episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz answers one of the most asked-about questions/complaints concerning his show—“What supplement do I really need to take? There are so many on your show and I am confused.”

“Today amid all the confusion, I’m revealing the supplement everyone needs, but not enough people are taking correctly,” says Dr. Oz as he brings to viewers his answer to what supplements you should really be taking.

“The rule of thumb for now is 5 pills a day,” says Dr. Oz tells as he tells viewers that although he has covered many recommended supplements over the years, that you should really only be taking only a few at a time―and temporarily―when a specific condition is present that needs treatment. He explains that too many people may be taking too many pills that can come at a cost of not only their income, but their health as well.

Dr. Oz’s recommendation is that if there is one supplement that should be taken daily it’s a multivitamin.

“The reason why a multivitamin is so important is because it’s got vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and it’s got potassium, zinc and iodine in it—it’s got all the things your body needs,” says Dr. Oz.

However, he also tells viewers that there are two things most people get wrong when it comes to taking multivitamins: The first is that they don’t take them every day. The second is that they are taking the wrong multivitamin in the form of megadose multivitamin formulations.

“Unfortunately, megadose does not mean megabetter. Megadose vitamins have up to 4,000 percent of what you need in your body.” says Dr. Oz. who tells viewers that taking that much of any vitamin can be dangerous for the body. His recommendation is to take only multivitamin supplements that provide a daily value of not more than the recommended 100% daily dose of each vitamin type.

However, according to the October 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, Dr. Oz’s recommendation of taking a multivitamin daily is backed by little evidence that supplements such as multivitamins actually help prevent disease in already healthy, well-fed people. However they do agree with Dr. Oz that taking too much of any supplement—even vitamins—can be harmful to your health.

A summary of Consumer Reports findings on 4 ways to avoid supplement dangers is listed as follows:

1. Tell your doctor about supplements

According to a survey, only 69% of the respondents tell their doctor what supplements they are taking. According to Pieter Cohen, M.D., an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, patients should provide a list of all supplements at every visit as part of their medical history.

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“There’s no question that high doses of vitamins can hurt you,” he says. Too much vitamin E, for example, can increase the risk for prostate cancer.

2. Watch for drug interactions

Adverse prescription drug-supplement interactions do occur, requiring that patients need to check with a pharmacist before taking any supplement along with a prescription drug. For example, many do not know that the popular herbal supplement St. John’s Wort can make birth control pills and heart medications less effective.

3. Don't bother with multivitamins for kids

Nearly half of all homes with a child under 18 report giving their child a multivitamin at least occasionally as a supplement to balance their diet and maintain good health. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that “supplemental vitamins are probably unnecessary for the healthy child who is more than 1 year of age and is consuming a healthy, varied diet,” says Neville Golden, M.D., chief of adolescent medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and a spokesman for the AAP. “A multivitamin containing the recommended daily allowance is not harmful but can be expensive.”

4. Be skeptical of claims

According to one survey, 55% percent of American adults falsely believe that supplement labels must warn about potential dangers and side effects. The truth, however, is that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require warnings on supplements, with one exception: Those that contain iron must warn about accidental overdosing and fatal poisoning in children.

Moreover, when it comes to the quality or efficacy of supplements, federal law does not require that dietary supplements be proved safe to the FDA’s satisfaction or that supplement companies show that most label claims are accurate.

For additional information from Dr. Oz about multivitamins, click-on the titled link “Dr. Oz Shares Multi-Vitamin Safety Recommendations.”

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The Dr. Oz Show

Consumer Reports October 2013 issue