Vitamins & minerals: what's the harm?

So you take a multivitamin every morning because you heard it's a good thing to do, but you're not sure if it's making a difference. You keep taking them, though, because at least they're not harming you. Not so fast. A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has concluded that taking vitamin and mineral pills may actually increase your risk of death from cancer or heart disease. Several supplements were found to be dangerous, with the worst being iron. Only one was found to be beneficial: calcium.

The study was performed on older women, but it certainly raises the concern that all of us should be much more careful about the pills we pop.

Needless to say, advocates for the supplement producers have released statements which downplay the study, stating that the effects are merely correlative and not causal.

So what's the best strategy? No one is contesting that your body needs important vitamins and minerals. Instead of getting them through a pill, though, play it safe and get them the old fashioned way, through food.