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Myth #1: When you start to get a cold, take Vitamin C.

Fact: According to WebMD, there is no research supporting the claim that vitamin C prevents or cures the common cold. So where did all the hype originate? In 1970, an American chemist named Linus Pauling researched and published Vitamin C and the Common Cold, which became an instant bestseller. Subsequently, Pauling’s research proved to be faulty, but the myth has persisted. Nevertheless, vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and good for your body. Your skin, blood vessels, and bones need it to properly grow, and it’s also essential in the synthesis of collagen, part of connective tissue that helps heal wounds. You can get your vitamin C from citrus fruits, red and green peppers, watermelon, and leafy green vegetables.

Myth #2: All multivitamins are the same.

Fact: Because no two humans are the same, multivitamins will not have the same effect on them. Not only do we have different nutritional requirements at different ages, gender, diet and lifestyle play a factor, as well. Look for multivitamins tailored for your specific needs. For example, women ages 18 to 50 need high levels of iron to support normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Seniors should be concerned about bone density and need more vitamin D3 and vitamin K2.

Myth #3: Taking calcium prevents osteoporosis.

Fact: You can take calcium supplements and drink gallons of milk, but without other supporting vitamins, the calcium supplement will do you no good. For example, without vitamin D your body can only absorb 10–15 percent of dietary calcium. When vitamin D is added, the absorption of dietary calcium increases to 30–40 percent. Vitamin K, which helps proteins bind to calcium and transports them to where they are needed in our bones, organs, and other tissues, is also important to calcium absorption. Finally, you need magnesium, which helps the body absorb calcium and aids in bone formation. In fact, according to Better Bones, we need nearly as much magnesium as calcium to maintain strong bones.

Myth #4: Vitamin B12 shots help you lose weight.

Fact: According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s no solid evidence vitamin B-12 injections aid weight loss, nor do they give you an energy boost. B-12 is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin found naturally in meat, fish and dairy products. Unless you have a Vitamin B-12 deficiency, injections aren’t likely to do you much good.

Myth #5: Taking beta-carotene supplements prevents cancer.

Fact: There is no research to support the theory that beta-carotene prevents cancer. In fact, some research shows taking high doses of beta-carotene supplements increased the risk of lung cancer in some patients. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and beneficial to overall health—if obtained from eating yellow and orange fruits, such as apricots, cantaloupe, and papaya, as well as squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, leafy greens, and broccoli.

Rieva Lesonsky is an entrepreneur, best-selling author and self-educated health nut. Follow her @Rieva.

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