5 On Your Side

Multivitamins put to the test

Posted September 23, 2010

Nearly 40 percent of American adults take a daily vitamin and collectively spend some $5 billion on multivitamins each year.

A recent survey by Consumer Reports revealed confusion about which are the best vitamins and concerns about contamination.

The magazine studied 21 regular daily multivitamins, as well ones for seniors and chewables for children, to find some answers.

"Not everyone needs to take a multivitamin, particularly if you eat a balanced diet. But it's necessary for pregnant women and people on strict diets," Gayle Williams, with Consumer Reports, said.

An outside lab tested multivitamins for contamination and to see if they actually contained the ingredients that their manufacturers claim.

None of the vitamins contained worrisome levels of heavy metals or excessive doses of any vitamin or mineral.

Consumer Reports also tested to see how well the multivitamins dissolve, which is important to getting all the nutrients from a vitamin.

Two of the most expensive multivitamins – Rite Aid's Whole Source Mature Adult and Vitamin Shoppe's One Daily – did not dissolve sufficiently.

Samples from two of three lots of Vitamin Shoppe's One Daily contained only 73 percent of the vitamin A listed.

"The good news is all the other multivitamins passed Consumer Reports' tests, so you can chose by price," Williams said.

Walmart's Equate brand has some of the least expensive multivitamins and vitamins for seniors and children. Costco's Kirkland Signature multivitamins cost even less.

To cut costs, look for sales and buy in bulk then, because many vitamins don't expire for at least a year.


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  • 1on1bizads Sep 27, 2010

    I've tried costco's vitamins but they made me feel sick. I was skeptical to try any other store's brand's vitamins so I looked online for an alternative. I found this stuff called Daily Multiple which is made my a company called Mineralife. This stuff is really fantastic and I love that its a liquid. I got it from their website-- http://ionicliquidminerallife.com/health/Liquid-Daily-Multiple--b-1001.asp

  • Eduardo1 Sep 24, 2010

    sinchpricess.read the article. Other then the brands named, aLL others passed. Walmart Equate, which I have taken for years is at the top of the list

  • Smokin Sep 24, 2010

    My nurse practitioner friends usually say "a Centrum-type multivitamin". Sam's and Costco are good places to start.

  • Beijing Bev Sep 23, 2010

    In North Carolina, about 200 pregnancies per year are affected by a neural tube defect (NTD). Over half of these babies will never be born. The others will be born with some degree of disability ranging from mild to severe. In some cases, the disability will cause the baby to be stillborn or die within days after birth. Taking a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during the earliest stages of pregnancy can reduce up to 70 percent of NTDs. Recent studies show that periconceptional multivitamin use may also reduce the risk of other major birth defects, such as orofacial clefts, congenital heart defects and urinary defects. In addition, folic acid may help reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke and colon cancer. from the North Carolina Folic Acid Council.
    Every woman who has the potential of becoming pregnant should take a multiple vitamin with a 400 mcg of folic acid as this amount is very difficult to achieve with even a good diet.

  • Icaretoo Sep 23, 2010

    All others not listed. ""The good news is all the other multivitamins passed Consumer Reports' tests, so you can chose by price," Williams said."

  • Stiletto Princess Sep 23, 2010

    Sooooooooo... which one dissolves fully? You've listed what we shouldn't purchase. What was recommened?