Are You Sure That’s Good For You? Pros and Cons of 10 Common Breast Cancer Supplements

8. Green Tea

The Pros
The primary polyphenol in green tea is EGCG, which may reduce the risk of breast and other cancers. EGCG is a natural antioxidant that may prevent cell damage, and the compound has successfully limited the growth of cancer cells in some lab studies. Having up to three cups of green tea is safe and may have anticancer effects.

The Cons
Green tea has less caffeine than both black tea and coffee—about 25 milligrams a cup, but it still may make those who are sensitive to caffeine jittery or nauseated. The caffeine may interact with medications or cause sleeplessness.

9. Vitamin B-12

The Pros
Vitamin B-12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, healthy cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA production. It’s available as a supplement but found in foods like poultry, meat, fish, and dairy. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B-12, so while deficiency is rare, those who don’t eat animal products are more likely to experience B-12 deficiency. Most people get sufficient B-12 from a normal diet.

The Cons
Despite rumors to the contrary, B-12 will not increase your metabolism if you’re not deficient, and should not be used as a weight-loss method. Vitamin B-12 supplements are safe in appropriate doses (RDA is 2.4 micrograms for adults), and since B-12 is water-soluble, excess amounts will be passed through urine. High doses may cause dizziness, headache, anxiety, and nausea. Some medications and other supplements can decrease your body’s B-12 absorption.

10. Zinc

The Pros
Zinc supports a healthy immune system and metabolism and is important in wound healing. Zinc supplements may also help reduce the length of a cold and can alleviate diarrhea in cases of zinc deficiency (usually due to malnutrition). It may also slow the progression of macular degeneration.

Zinc deficiency is rare, and common foods like chicken, red meat, and breakfast cereal are good sources of zinc. The RDA of zinc for women is 8mg and 11mg for men.

The Cons
Intranasal zinc has been linked to decreased sense of smell. Oral zinc is generally safe, but side effects may include indigestion, diarrhea, headache, nausea, vomiting, and copper deficiency (when taken on a long-term basis). Zinc supplements may also interfere with antibiotics and some other drugs.

Vitamins and minerals are important to maintain our best health, but unfortunately there’s not quick way cover all our health-bases with a quick pill. It’s still best to get all as much of our nutrition from a healthy diet, and talk to a doctor or registered dietitian before adding supplements. Do your research and talk to a professional before stocking your medicine cabinet. Stay healthy, friends!

7 ways to be supplement savvy: Click “Next” below!

Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.