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Dr Zoe reveals which supplements to take

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Supplements have seen a massive boom in the last century, with various products of all sizes and colours hitting the shelves. However, some experts argue that the little pills cause more harm than good in some cases.

The research team from the University of Colorado Cancer Center has warned that beta carotene supplements may increase the risk of lung cancer when taken in excess.

Beta carotene describes a red orange pigment found in various plants and fruits. This pigment is converted to vitamin A in your body.

One of the best-known food sources of beta carotene is carrot.

The supplement version of this pigment promises to boost your immunity and keep your skin healthy.

The study noticed that taking more than the recommended daily amount correlated with a 20-percent increased risk.

Taking place over two decades, sinemet plus carbidopa levodopa the research reviewed various trials that involved thousands of patients.

The team found that taking beta carotene supplements in excess can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

Ironically, the team set out to investigate if taking extra vitamins and minerals could reduce cancer risk. However, the results brought an unexpected twist instead.

One of the researchers Tim Byers said: “We found that the supplements were actually not beneficial for their health.

“In fact, some people actually got more cancer while on the vitamins.”

However, they also noted that taking multivitamins at the correct dose might still be beneficial.

The NHS also shares a similar message. It warns that taking too much or taking supplements for too long could be “harmful”.

Monika Wassermann, Medical Director at Olio Lusso shared that other lifestyle factors could also play a role in the link between beta carotene and lung cancer.

She said: “Generally, taking beta carotene supplements in moderate amounts is not linked to a higher risk of cancer in non-smokers.

“Most studies show that beta carotene supplements can boost cancer risk in smokers. Smoking can heighten risk of lung or prostate cancers.

“Smokers taking beta carotene supplements are likely to have cancer as the pills increase chances of developing angiogenic genes in the endothelial cells, speed up cellular proliferation in lung cells and pulmonary adenocarcinoma.”

While your body can’t synthesise beta carotene or vitamin A on its own, there are various food sources of the nutrient.

Mrs Wassermann said: “To lower your risk of cancer from beta carotene supplements, I recommend you swap the supplements with healthy food sources of beta carotene.”

She listed these options:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkins
  • Papaya
  • Apricots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Leafy greens.

“You get to boost your overall nutrient intake and avoid any side effects from supplements,” she concluded.

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