Our expert says:
I agree that this is rather a confusing statement. What is important to keep in mind is that anyone who is not suffering from an illness that necessitates taking vitamin and mineral supplements (e.g. iron-deficiency anaemia where the patient is required to take an iron supplement), or is exposed to extreme stresses (rapid growth, example pregnant women are usually given a vitamin and mineral supplement), and is eating a balanced diet, need not take any supplements at all. In fact the latest research has found that taking certain vitamins (vitamins A, D and E), in large doses for long periods can cause an increase in mortality. Click on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then on 'DietDoc's articles' and search for the article on 'Are Vitamin Supplements Fatal?'. The suggested amount of niacin, namely 1000 mg, can also cause a variety of negative side-effects (flushing, palpitations, diarrhoea) and the statements "normalize cholesterol and reverse schizophrenia" are not fully supported by scientific evidence. Taking additional naicin (e.g. 18 mg per day or 100% of the RDA) may assist in lowering cholesterol moderately and improving schizophrenia slightly, but it is unwise to take any vitamin supplement at such high doses.
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