Long-time readers know of my fondness for and (unpaid) endorsement of ConsumerLab.com, one of the two best companies that test natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) for safety and quality. Now ConsumerLab has test results of 60 multivitamins and have shown that you can’t always judge a supplement by its label—or by its price.
“Consumers should know that multivitamins vary widely in quality,” says Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. “Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good multivitamin.”
ConsumerLab.com’s latest report on multivitamins sold in the U.S. and Canada (including three products for pets) found that the contents of the bottle don’t always match the claims on the label:
Cooperman also notes that many products contained levels of vitamins or minerals that exceed daily tolerable upper intake levels, potentially increasing the risk of side effects.
Surprisingly, there was almost NO connection between price and quality:
The review, published online, provides test results and comparisons for 60 multivitamin products.
Multivitamins are the most popular supplements in the U.S., accounting for sales of $4.8 billion in 2009 according to Nutrition Business Journal.
ConsumerLab.com tested multivitamins for key nutrients, lead contamination, and proper labeling. Tablets were also checked to make sure they would break apart properly when consumed.
Among the 48 products that earned an APPROVED rating from ConsumerLab.com, there were some true bargains.
Two pet supplements failed. One was contaminated with 7.45 mcg of lead per tablet. This product has been tested by ConsumerLab.com in two previous reviews and the amount of lead has increased over the years. The other pet product contained 32% less vitamin A than the label claimed.
Dr. Cooperman says consumers should take stock of their personal nutritional needs before considering a multivitamin.
Using the report as a guide, they can find real value without any hidden surprises. “You can easily save $100 a year and possibly avoid problems,” he says.
In addition to the new multivitamin report, ConsumerLab.com provides a free listing of latest recommendations for vitamin and mineral intake.