Do Pills Equal Power?

FRESNO, Calif.

John Bellizzi loves hitting the weights.

"I take my vitamins. I take my vitamin pack. I take my vitamin D," Bellizzi told Ivanhoe.

He also loves his supplements. Those pills are a workout staple.

But does everyone need them? You might if you're a vegetarian, have food allergies or if you consume less than 1,600 calories per day. Those folks may not be getting enough food or varieties of foods.

Pharmacist Sam Pratt says vitamins boost a poor diet. Sadly, the U.S. government says only 10 percent of Americans eat healthy.

"If we get those things right, then we give the body the opportunity to heal itself," Pratt told Ivanhoe.

But mega-dosing on vitamins A, K, E and D can lead to bone and liver damage.

"Zinc is an incredible mineral that a lot of people are deficient in," Pratt said.

Zinc is a good "utility vitamin," boosting your vision, your ability to heal, and it helps you fight infections. Foods like lobster, crab and yogurt are all good sources of zinc.

Bellizzi continues to pump iron and pop pills, but you may not need to. The U.S. government says if you're healthy and eat all four food groups most of the time, you don't need a thing.

Just in case you still think too many vitamins won't hurt you, think about this: an Oregon StateUniversity study showed too much vitamin A can cause brain swelling in some cases. According to the Mayo Clinic, too much vitamin D can lead to kidney stones and abnormal heart rhythms.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993
(O) (888)723-3366
consumer@fda.gov

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