Health & Medicine

The docs offer advice: Supplements — to B or not to B?

You can never have too much of a cozy B&B, bumblebees or b-ball. But when it comes to B vitamins, research shows that you need the right amount of supplements to make your RealAge as young as it can be. And B-wise; over-B-ing promotes obesity, and it happens all the time now that foods are fortified with Bs and folks supplement with extra B vitamins!

According to ConsumerLab.com (a testing facility that examines the safety and efficacy of supplements): “Many vitamins and energy drinks exceed the established upper tolerable intake levels for B vitamins. If you have a deficiency, high doses may be necessary; otherwise, more does not necessarily mean better.”

Our advice: Read the label. Some sources supply 2,500 times the recommended daily value for B-6 (for adults, it’s just 1.3-1.5 mg), and that may trigger nerve damage or skin lesions. Too much B-12 brings on acne or rosacea in some folks. Excess niacin (B-3) can cause skin flushing/pain, liver toxicity and elevated blood sugar. Excess folate (B-9) can cause kidney damage and mask a B-12 deficiency.

But too little B is also common. The right amount of folate for three months before and during pregnancy decreases autism by 40 percent and all other congenital defects by more than 60 percent. And it’s probably in your daily multi, so, again, read the label. You can break it in two and take half in the a.m. and half in the p.m. to keep your B (and C) levels near optimal. Then you’ll B your best.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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