PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (KTLA) – For years we were warned to take our vitamins, now a well known doctor is disputing that long-held belief.
Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, warned supplements and vitamins could pose a health risk when taken in excess, especially the super-strength varieties.
He issued that claim in his new book “Do You Believe In Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine.”
“I think that alternative medicine is often given a free pass,” Dr. Offit told CNN on Tuesday, the day his book was released.
“I think we should hold alternative medicine to the same standard that we hold conventional medicine. It lives under this sort of untouchable halo. I think we should be a little more skeptical.”
Dr. Offit went on to explain that he had recently seen a television ad that told viewers you would need to drink two gallons of orange juice to get as much Vitamin C as was in the supplement being promoted.
But he said there’s probably a good reason why nature doesn’t provide that much Vitamin C in one serving.
He added that people often think supplements are harmless, but that this simply was not true.
“Vitamins live under this notion that you can’t possibly hurt yourself,” he said. “But you can, by challenging Mother Nature and taking these vitamins and concentrating them to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat.”
Not everyone agreed with Dr. Offit.
The nonprofit Consumer Healthcare Products Association countered his claims, saying in a statement that there was research proving the benefits of multivitamins, and that these supplements are prominent in the health care regime of many consumers.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 50 percent of Americans consumed some sort of dietary supplements between 2003-2006.