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A man holding a pill and a glass of water

About 50 percent of men in the United States take vitamins and supplements, according to studies. In 2011, American consumers spent $30 billion on these over-the-counter nutritional items.

The problem? Many popular vitamins and supplements aren’t FDA-regulated. Additionally, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study last year that expressed concerns about people using supplements and vitamins for general use, as opposed to only taking them to address a particular ailment.

All experts seem to agree that the best way to get in your vitamins is to eat a balanced diet. Still, it’s very tempting to take a pill, in the hopes of boosting your health, your muscle mass and/or your energy level.

But, research suggests that the below vitamins may not only be a waste of your time and money, but may actually do some men more harm than good:

Beta-Carotene/Vitamin A

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant responsible for the deep red-orange color found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, a fat-soluble nutrient that protects cells from damage and that we need for eye, immune system, and skin health.

The problem: Studies point to an increased risk for lung cancer in people who took them, especially in men who smoke.

Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral and antioxidant that Americans usually get enough of from breads, grains, meat, poultry, and fish.

The problem: A selenium trial that was conducted a few years okay showed that selenium may increase the risks of not only skin cancer, but prostate cancer in some men…as well as diabetes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

The problem: Vitamin E has been tested, retested and tested again to demonstrate heart disease and cancer prevention benefits. However, vitamin E not only has yet to show substantial benefits, studies have been mixed at best, with some trials showing no benefit, and others actually showing an increased risk of prostate cancer in men.

In fact, according to Huffington Post, for more than a decade, researchers followed more than 35,000 men enrolled in SELECT, a clinical trial designed to see whether taking selenium and vitamin E might help prevent prostate cancer. This led to findings that vitamin E increased the chance of prostate cancer.

What Vitamins ?

This is a difficult question to answer? Why? Because men aren’t all the same. Yes, there are certain vitamins that most men should make sure they’re getting in, such as vitamins C, D, and B-complex vitamins. Aside from that, the smartest supplement solution is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and to check with your doctor to see if there are any specific nutrients you need.

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