No, your vitamins won't hurt you

Sometimes, I can't believe the nonsense I read in the mainstream media -- like reports that claim essential nutrients such as vitamin C and E might be dangerous.

Want to know what's really dangerous? Falling short in these disease-fighting antioxidants.

That's the real risk for most people. I know, because I see the lab results here in my clinic all the time -- and I urge many patients to begin supplementing these and other critical nutrients.

But they've seen those same reports in the media too. When I tell them to take a supplement, some of them get nervous and ask me straight out if they're safe.

Of course they are (I wouldn't offer them if they weren't). And now, a major new study offers even more reassurance, proving yet again that vitamins C and E are perfectly safe.

And this study doesn't just come from any old research institute.

It comes straight from Harvard University, where researchers crunched the numbers from a large-scale double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial -- the famous Physicians' Health Study II -- and found that neither nutrient will harm you.

They certainly won't increase your risk of cancer -- as one of those headline-making, panic-inducing studies claimed -- and vitamin C can actually cut your risk of colon cancer nearly in half.

That's good news. Reassuring news.

But let me make this even better, because the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition used Centrum Silver and synthetic vitamin C and E supplements.

In other words, hardly the highest-quality supplements or even the best possible doses.

For example, the vitamin E supplement used in the study contained just 400 IU, or far short of the 1,200-2,000 IU of vitamin E that I recommend. In addition, that low-dose E supplement contained a single tocopherol -- not the eight tocopherols and tocotri¬enols that you really need. (Read the label carefully.)

The same goes for vitamin C. The study used supplements of just 500 mg per day -- but most people need at least double that amount, and many people can use even more.

The only "risk" here is relatively minor and easy to fix: Higher oral levels of C can upset the stomach in sensitive people, leading to gas and diarrhea. If that happens to you, take smaller doses two or three times a day instead of all at once.