A top doctor is spelling out a warning for many of the millions of Americans who pop those much-loved vitamin pills.
Dr. Paul Offit is the author of a new book called Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine.
Multivitamin pills are fine, Dr. Offit says. It's taking mega-doses of vitamins he has an issue with.
He said, “When you do that, you increase your risk of cancer, increase your risk of heart disease, and shorten your life.”
INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent asked, “When you talk about mega vitamin, you are talking about what?”
Dr. Offit said, "Five fold, ten fold, twenty fold greater than what you need."
One pill for instance, has the same amount of Vitamin C as 14 oranges.
Dr. Offit said, “You're not meant to eat 14 oranges. Our stomachs are so big for a reason. Don't mess with Mother Nature.”
Same goes for another pill, the same amount of Vitamin E as two pounds of almonds.
Dr. Offit suggests, “Ask yourself, ‘Would I normally eat all of this?’ If the answer is 'No,' then you shouldn't take that."
And how about Vitamin A, which is found in carrots?
“You only need one tenth to get what you need,” he said.
Dr. Offit's list of the riskiest vitamins in mega doses are vitamin A, E, Beta-Carotene, and the mineral Selenium.
Elsewhere in his book, Dr. Offit says the late Apple founder Steve Jobs paid a high price for his faith in alternative medicine.
Dr. Offit said, “He had the kind of pancreatic cancer that was treatable with early surgery. Instead of early surgery he did acupuncture, he did bowel cleansings, he waited nine months and by the time he would have had the surgery that would have saved his life, it was too late."
Dr. Offit also blasts health advice given by celebs like anti-aging guru Suzanne Somers, and Jenny McCarthy, who has campaigned against childhood vaccines.
"When Jenny McCarthy says don't get vaccines because that way you can avoid autism, that's terrible advice. When Suzanne Somers says use her sort of hormone replacement therapy which is all natural and isn't going to cause the sort of problems that regular hormone replacement therapy causes, that's bad advice. It's amazing to me that we turn to celebrities for health care advice. Some of that advice can be awful,” he said.
In a statement the Council for Responsible Nutrition told us they disagree with Dr. Offit's statements, and believe it would be a shame if consumers mistake the opinion of one doctor for that of the entire medical community. They also stress it's important to consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.
Suzanne Somers told us she believes Dr. Offit has a "weak message" and is using her name to get attention for his book.