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Most Prenatals & Multivitamins may be doing more harm than good!

Dr. Fuhrman warns:
Do not take supplements that contain potentially toxic ingredients, including folic acid.

Harmful Ingredients Multivitamins

Dr. Fuhrman feels it is imperative that all women are aware that they may be endangering their health or the health of their unborn children by using conventional supplements. Most prenatal and multivitamins on the market today have potentially harmful ingredients that could negatively affect them.

Know what you are taking:


Folate plays important roles in fetal development - folate is essential during pregnancy, especially early on in pregnancy, for the prevention of neural tube defects. Folate deficiency has been linked to neural tube defects.

Folate from food is protective, but folic acid supplementation is linked to cancer.

Folate is abundant in green vegetables like spinach, collards, bok choy, artichokes, and broccoli. Taking synthetic folic acid is not the same as getting natural folate from vegetables. The body processes these two substances differently. Processing the synthetic form of folate can result in excessive folic acid levels in the circulation which plays a role in cancer initiation and progression.

• A study compared breast cancer mortality rates between women who took folic acid during their pregnancy and those that did not. Thirty years later those women who were given a hefty dose of folic acid during pregnancy were twice as likely to die from breast cancer.

• A 10-year study on women taking multivitamins concluded that those who took multivitamins containing folic acid increased their breast cancer risk by 20-30%2.

• A study investigating both food folate and synthetic folic acid found that only supplemental folic acid increased breast cancer risk. In other studies, women with low levels of food folate intake were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.3,4

• Folic acid supplementation has also been strongly linked to prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, which confirms the link between folic acid and cancer promotion at multiple sites.5

Despite these startling findings, the U.S. government and most physicians encourage women to take folic acid supplements, assuming women do not eat green vegetables and are all folate deficient. More than adequate folate levels can be easily and safely achieved by including green vegetables in a healthy diet.

Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy can damage your child.

Studies link folic acid supplementation during pregnancy to increased risk of childhood asthma, infant respiratory tract infections, and cardiac birth defects. Read more....

Dr. Fuhrman stresses, “The missed opportunity to educate women, about the critical importance of eating greens, instead of perpetuating the ubiquitous message of folic acid supplementation is a major contributor to the epidemic of childhood cancers because it allows women to ignore their diet and the need to eat greens which would provide the best protection against both birth defects and childhood cancers.”

Know which foods are rich sources of folate
Review the approximate folate content of these foods.


There are risks associated with consumption of these nutrients above what we receive in our diet. Ingesting vitamin A or beta-carotene in isolation from supplements, instead of food may interfere with the absorption of other crucially important carotenoids, such as lutein and lycopene, thus potentially increasing cancer risk.6

There is also solid research revealing that supplemental vitamin A induces calcium loss in the urine, contributing to osteoporosis. Too much vitamin A is known to be toxic to the liver, and can cause birth defects. In humans, excess vitamin A is potentially a problem, even in ranges not normally considered toxic.7 One study found that subjects with a vitamin A intake in the range of 1.5 mg had double the hip fracture rate of those with an intake in that range of .5 mg.8 For every 1 mg increase in vitamin A consumption, hip fracture rate increased by 68%.


An extended trial of concluded that high doses of supplemented vitamin E (200 IUs or more) were not found to prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease but, in fact, showed an increased risk of heart failure. Another recent study warns of increased mortality risk associated with beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E supplementation.9


Recent studies show that excess copper could be associated with reduced immune function and lower antioxidant status.10 Recently published research also indicates that high copper intake and diets high in saturated and trans fats could lead to an accelerated rate of mental decline in older adults.11

Use Dr. Fuhrman’s Vitamin Advisor as a guide to select the supplements that are right for you.

1Charles D et al. Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer. BMJ 2004;329:1375-6
2Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ et al. Folate intake, alcohol use, and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):895-904.
3Sellers TA et al. Dietary folate intake, alcohol, and risk of breast cancer in a prospective study of postmenopausal women. Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):420-8.
4Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nutr Rev. 2006 Oct;64(10 Pt 1):468-75.
5Figueiredo JC et al. Folic acid and risk of prostate cancer: results from a randomized clinical trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 18;101(6):432-5. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
Fife, J et al. Folic Acid Supplementation and Colorectal Cancer Risk; A Meta-analysis. Colorectal Dis. 2009 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]
6Mayne ST. Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans. FASEB. 1996;10(7):690-701.
Goodman GE. Prevention of lung cancer. Current Opinion in Oncology 1998;10(2):122-126.
Kolata G. Studies Find Beta Carotene, Taken by Millions, Can't Forestall Cancer or Heart Disease. New York Times, Jan 19, 1996. Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18);1150-1155.
Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Manson JE, et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18):1145-1149.
Albanes D, Heinonen OP, Taylor PR, et al. Alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements and lung cancer incidence in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cancer prevention study: effects of base-line characteristics and study compliance. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1996;88(21):1560-1570.
Rapola JM, Virtamo J, Ripatti S, et al. Randomized trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements on incidence of major coronary events in men with previous myocardial infarction. Lancet 1997;349(9067):1715-1720. D
Bjelakovic G, Nikolava D, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patient with various diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;16(2):CD00776.
7Whiting SJ. Lemde B. Excess retinol intake may explain the high incidence of osteoporosis in northern Europe. Nutr Rev. 1999. 57(6): 192-195.
8Melhus H. Michaelson K. Kindmark A. et al. Excessive dietary intake of vitamin A is associated with reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of hip fracture. Ann Intern Med. 1998.129(10): 770-778.
9Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD007176.
10Turnlund J. et al. Long Term high copper intake: effects on indexes of copper status, antioxidant status, and immune function in young men. Am J Clin Nut. 2004. 79:1037-1044.
11Morris MC. et al. Dietary Copper and High Saturated and Trans Fat Intakes Associated with Cognitive Decline. Archives of Neurology 2006. 63:1085-1088.
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