Can “One A Day” keep the doctor away? A new report by Consumer Labs, a company whose mission is to independently evaluate products that affect health and nutrition, found that nearly one-third of the multivitamins selected for testing were found to contain significantly more or less ingredient than claimed or were contaminated with lead. Specifically, among the twenty-nine products for adults and children that ConsumerLab.com selected, tests showed that eight failed to meet their claims or other quality standards and twelve others provided levels that may be too high for healthy individuals.
Multivitamins are the most popular dietary supplements and many people have a false sense of security when taking them. Some contain ingredients that are not well absorbed or synthetic versions of some vitamins which may actually have deleterious effects. The ingredients vary widely by brand and it is difficult to know if they adhere to good manufacturing processes used to assure quality, potency and purity.
There are no established standards on what multivitamins should contain. One reason for not having uniform standards is that people’s diets and their needs differ. Nutrient requirements and cautions vary depending on age, gender, and health status, use of substances such as alcohol or tobacco, and medications taken.
If you are healthy and have no issues, choose the highest quality supplements from a reputable company that has an independent third party test it for potency and purity and adheres to the highest standards of supplement quality control. Use a company that manufactures under the strictest FDA guidelines known as “pharmaceutical or clinical grade,” These companies use Good Manufacturing Processes or GMP. Choose companies that perform research on their products. If you have health concerns, are on medications or are looking to vitamins and supplements to modulate disease or risk factors, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner to determine the best combination for you. Functional tests are available to not only determine your nutritional status and absorption of vitamins into your bloodstream, some can determine if they are actually getting into your cells and working. You can also have metabolic or genetic tests to determine your unique needs. Seek the advice of a health care professional who is well versed in this arena.
Dr. Lorraine Maita has expertise in nutrition and supplements and is a Diplomate in The American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and Internal Medicine. She specializes in lifestyle, stress management, exercise, nutrition, supplements, bioidentical hormone replacement, neurocognitive function and executive physicals in her practice in Short Hills, NJ