Evaluating Multivitamins


When choosing a multivitamin, don’t forget to look for one that has plenty of key vitamins and minerals, and, of course, is shaped like a favorite cartoon character.

Last week, in the e-Alert “Rags to Riches” (1/25/07), I told you about an NBC report that featured an investigation of several popular multivitamin brands. The multis were tested for purity, dissolvability, and content (compared to content amounts listed on labels).

Obviously, you want your vitamin supplements to be pure, to dissolve quickly, and to contain what they’re supposed to contain. But if you make a decision about a supplement based on those factors alone, you might end up chomping on a cherry flavored pill shaped like Betty Rubble (which, by the way, supplies more than enough of your daily requirement of red food dye).

That’s right, the multivitamin brands that received high marks from the ConsumerLab analysis included Flintstones Complete – easily dissolved because they’re chewable, apparently free of impurities, and chock full of everything the label claims they contain. Which is unfortunate, because they contain aspartame and soybean oil – neither of which I want to find in MY multivitamin.

But that’s not the worst of it. According to the Flintstones Complete web site, the ingredients of this multivitamin include – no kidding – hydrogenated vegetable oil. Which means these colorful, fun, and flavorful multis contain TRANS FATTY ACIDS!

I’ll stand by my original assessment of the NBC report because I appreciate the fact that it supplied valid consumer information. But the report strongly implied that the ConsumerLab results sorted out the high quality brands from the low quality. Not so. The test was useful to a point, but missed the big picture in a big way.

“A Vitamin a Day May Do More Harm Than Good” Jacqueline Stenson, MSNBC, 1/19/07, msnbc.msn.com