I’m a pharmacist and these are 5 supplements you should never buy again: eat this, not that

When you walk down some aisles of your local drugstore, you see rows and rows of supplements and vitamins. She might make you ask, “Should I take these?” While some people can definitely benefit from supplementing their diet with pills, powders, or drops, not all supplements are helpful. Some can actually be harmful. Plus, supplements can be expensive, and you don’t want to waste money on something that may actually do nothing for you. Even worse, it may interact with the medications you’re taking. You should always talk to your doctor about which supplements might make sense to you, but here are five supplements that are almost never worth buying. Read on to find out more and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss out on these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.

Smiling young lady looking at her vitamins
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You won’t always find vitamin K listed on the nutrition labels of foods you buy at the grocery store, but this vitamin, which is actually a group of vitamins, plays several important roles in your body. The number one thing it does is help create proteins that make blood clot properly. It is also important for bone health.

That said, it is rare for adults to not get enough vitamin K. Usually when someone has a vitamin K deficiency it is because they have a disease like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease or have taken antibiotics for long periods of time. Newborns can also suffer from a deficiency, which is why they are often given a dose of vitamin K in the hospital.

Most people get a lot of vitamin K from their diets, which means a supplement is usually not needed. Some of the best sources of vitamin K include:

  • Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, chard, kale, and lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Soybean and rapeseed oils

There are some people who shouldn’t take vitamin K supplements. Since the compound is involved in blood clotting, it is not recommended for heart patients who take anticoagulants or anticoagulants, such as eg warfarin (Coumadin).

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Tired young African man using laptop while sitting at the table on a sunny morning.  Concept of people who work hard at home
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Caffeine itself is usually not a problem. In fact, it is probably the most commonly taken drug in the world. It awakens your central nervous system and gives you a jolt of energy. Due to these effects, it is often used in energy drinks and added to other foods and drinks, such as water and gum. Up to 400 mg of caffeine per day – about four cups of coffee – is perfectly safe for most people, according to Mayo Clinic.

The problem is, many supplements are highly concentrated. It’s easy to get too much caffeine. When you take in too much caffeine, it can have negative effects mild to severe. These include:

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tremor, tremor
  • Irritability
  • Heachache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomach ache
  • Anxiety
  • Dehydration

All in all, if you want to cool off with caffeine, keep naturally caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea and keep an eye on the effect they have on you. If you feel nervous or have trouble sleeping at night, you may want to cut back.

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vitamin C supplements
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Vitamin C may be the most popular vitamin out there. People often take it as a way to strengthen their immune systems. It is true that our bodies need vitamin C to stimulate white blood cells, the heroes of the immune system. Vitamin C is also important for making collagen, which is found throughout the body, such as in bones, cartilage, and skin. But you probably don’t even need to take a supplement. For one, research shows that a vitamin C supplement does not prevent most people from catching a cold. (Although you may feel sick for a shorter period of time.) Some people also take mega doses of vitamin C, more than 3,000 mg per day, which could cause diarrhea and an increased risk of kidney stones.

Most people get all the C they need from food. Unless your doctor tells you to take a vitamin C supplement, stick with it foods rich in vitamin C instead:

  • Red peppers
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes

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Vitamin E
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This is a bit tricky. Vitamin E is important for counteracting the effects of free radicals, supporting the immune system and preventing dangerous blood clots. And the truth is, many Americans don’t get enough vitamin E from their diets. But there is also no evidence that lower levels of vitamin E cause any harm. Taking vitamin E supplements, however, has some drawbacks. It interferes with blood thinners, so patients taking warfarin (Coumadin) shouldn’t take it, and studies also suggest that too much can increase the risk of prostate cancer.

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antioxidants
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“Antioxidant” is one of the main keywords of health and well-being. And for good reason: Antioxidants are great for intercepting free radicals (highly reactive molecules) that can damage the body’s cells and even affect your DNA. But like most buzzwords, the real meaning can be a bit confusing. You can find antioxidants in many places like lycopene, selenium and vitamins, C, E and A.

While they’re all good for you, studies show it’s not necessarily good to take them in supplement form. Research found that antioxidant supplements can increase the risk of skin and prostate cancer and even interfere with chemotherapy. It can also increase the risk of lung cancer if you are a smoker.

The best way to get antioxidants is through your diet. Some great antioxidant-rich foods to include:

  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peppers
  • almonds
  • Legumes
  • Oatmeal
  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Egg
  • Tuna fish
  • Salmon
  • brown rice

The supplements on this list fall somewhere on the spectrum between don’t and don’t bother. If you can get what you need by eating nutritious veggies, crunchy peppers, and peanut butter – and you sure can – then stick to the real stuff and skip the supplements. And to protect your life and that of others, don’t visit any of these 35 places you’re most likely to get COVID.

Dr. Shaili GandhiPharm.D., Is the vice president of form operations at SingleCare.

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