If you're like the majority of adults in the US, you probably take some sort of multivitamin. People these days take pills that are intended to perform a variety of functions, from promoting healthy heart function to sharpening memory. For many, a daily multivitamin can make us feel free to eat whatever we want, leaving vitamins to take care of any nutrients we don't get from our diets.
There is a lot of controversy over whether or not multivitamins actually have these health benefits for people taking them, but here we will focus on a different question: Do multivitamins even contain what they say they do?
As it turns out, for one third of all multivitamins, the answer is that it does not. Unlike medicine, multivitamins aren't strictly regulated by the FDA. Mis-labelled multivitamins are less effective at the very least, but they can sometimes even be dangerous.
Some multivitamins do not properly release the ingredients they contain. If the tablets are not digested, they do not deliver the full amount of nutrients that they contain.
Other supplements contained either too little or too much of several essential vitamins.
Vitamin A and folic acid are two basic vitamins that many supplements either contained too much or too little of. Several of the multivitamins tested contained much less of these nutrients than reported on labels: some as low as 46%; some didn't even have any!
It's actually far more worrisome if a multivitamin contains more than its reported amount of something, since too much of any particular vitamin can have harmful effects. Too much Vitamin A, for example, is toxic to the liver and can cause bone weakening. Certain multivitamin brands for children contain amounts of Vitamin A that far exceed recommended levels.
Most iodine supplements contain much less iodine than they're supposed to. A study of 60 multivitamins shows that only 28% contain the amount on the label. This may put newborns whose mothers are on iodine supplements at risk of developmental delays, since iodine deficiency can lead to mental retardation.
Some multivitamins even contain amounts of lead that are more than 10 times the amount permitted without a warning label in certain states. Although this amount of lead is not immediately toxic to adults, it can accumulate in the body. Such supplements should definitely not be given to children, who are highly susceptible to lead poisoning.
CATEGORIES: Nutrient, Healthy Food, Heart Health, Vitamins & Minerals