Multivitamins: Ratings of Sources
Total of 21 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Product Review: Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements
by Editors of ConsumerLab.com
Our AssessmentConsumerLab.com is the best source for multivitamin reviews, although its testing details are available only to subscribers. Nearly 50 brands of multivitamins are evaluated to ensure they contain the vitamins and minerals they claim, break down properly, and don't include additional substances or impurities. Multivitamins that pass all tests are listed as approved. In its latest round of testing, ConsumerLab.com finds that nearly one-third of multivitamins have nutrient amounts that are inconsistent with the label. Companies may pay testing fees to be included in the results -- known as the Voluntary Certification Program -- but those multivitamins are clearly marked in the results table.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentThe consumer organization evaluates 21 multivitamins in its latest report. Supplements are tested at two independent labs to ensure they meet their label claims and dissolve properly. They're also screened for impurities such as lead and arsenic. As evidenced in other independent tests, store-brand vitamins fare just as well as the expensive name brands. All but two multivitamins earn a recommendation.
The Top 10 Supplements for Men
by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
Our AssessmentFor the online version of Men's Health magazine, a registered dietitian reviews and recommends the top supplements men may need for optimum health. She recommends two multivitamins.
Survey Data on Lead in Women's and Children's Vitamins
by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Our AssessmentDue to concerns about lead in multivitamins, the FDA tests 324 vitamin supplements designed for women or children to determine their lead content and estimated daily exposure. Although 320 of the multis contain small traces of lead, none exceed the provisional total tolerable intake levels for their intended user. However, some vitamins -- even those for children under 6 -- contain more lead than others. The FDA hasn't retested since 2008.
Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D
by The National Academies
Our AssessmentThe nonprofit Institute of Medicine investigates the current Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for calcium and vitamin D. Its experts find that contrary to popular belief, most Americans get "adequate amounts" of both nutrients, and they caution that large doses can be harmful. The DRI for calcium for most adults is set at 1,000 mg, although slightly more is recommended for adolescents and seniors. While the DRI for vitamin D is 600 IU for most people, seniors over the age of 70 should aim for 800 IU.
Multivitamin Use and Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in the Women's Health Initiative Cohorts
by Marian L. Neuhouser, PhD, et al.
Our AssessmentThis article doesn't review specific multivitamins, but examines the necessity of taking a daily multi. Researchers utilize the huge Women's Health Initiative clinical trials, which tracked more than 160,000 women, to see if multis have significant health benefits. The study concludes that multivitamin use "has little or no influence on the risk of common cancers, CVD [cardiovascular disease] or total mortality in postmenopausal women."
Multivitamin Use and Breast Cancer Incidence in a Prospective Cohort of Swedish Women
by Susanna C. Larsson, et al.
Our AssessmentThis Swedish study follows more than 35,000 women over nearly 10 years to assess the relationship between multivitamins and breast cancer risk. Surprisingly, those who took a multi had an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who didn't. While a free abstract summarizes the results, the full article is available for a fee.
Dietary Supplement Use in the United States, 2003-2006
by R.L. Bailey, et al.
Our AssessmentIn this analysis, researchers use a dietary survey to estimate how many Americans consume supplements. Nearly half of the U.S. population reports taking some sort of dietary supplement, while 33 percent say they take a daily multivitamin. White Americans, seniors and college-educated adults are more likely to report taking a dietary supplement.
Risk of Vitamin A Toxicity from Candy-Like Chewable Vitamin Supplements for Children
by Hugh Simon Lam, et al.
Our AssessmentThis article examines the risk of vitamin A toxicity from chewable kids' multivitamins that are designed to look like candy. After presenting several case studies of children who ingested hundreds of chewable vitamins over several days, researchers conclude that these vitamins must be "treated with extreme care when kept at home."
Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT)
by National Institutes of Health
Our AssessmentSelenium has attracted attention for its potential to protect against prostate cancer. In this article, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says a long-term clinical trial ended early when it became clear that selenium and vitamin E do not prevent prostate cancer. In fact, participants taking selenium show an increase in new diabetes cases, although the NCI says this "does not prove an increased risk" and may be due to chance.
It's Time to Reassess the Value, Safety of Multivitamin Use
by Editors of Harvard Men's Health Watch
Our AssessmentIn the past, editors of this newsletter published by Harvard Medical Center recommended that men take a multivitamin, but they've now changed their views. Here they cite research that large amounts of folic acid may contribute to colon polyps. As a result, editors suggest that the average male give up multivitamins until the link between folic acid and colon cancer can be thoroughly investigated.
Vitamins and Supplements
by Vitamins and Supplements
Our AssessmentThis survey of pharmacist recommendations covers many over-the-counter products, with just a short section devoted to adult and children's multivitamins. The percentage of pharmacists who say they recommend certain vitamins is given, but no reasons or ratings are provided. Centrum is the most recommended adult brand at 60 percent, and Flintstones is most often recommended for children at 44 percent, but there's no explanation why.
Bayer Ads Misleading Men about Prostate Cancer, Says CSPI
by Editors of the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Our AssessmentMany supplement manufacturers get into trouble for claiming their products could prevent or treat a disease. In this press release, the public advocacy group CSPI announces its intention to sue Bayer over what it calls deceptive claims made about prostate cancer and two men's multivitamins.
Get the Best Multivitamins
by Richard Laliberte
Our AssessmentWomen's Health magazine details the pros and cons of multivitamins. Several nutrition experts are interviewed, and the article concludes with the magazine's pick for the best multivitamin -- One-A-Day Women's. "This classic brand's formulation adheres to the updated DRIs more closely than most other multis. It's right on the mark for most nutrients, gives you more of the ones you're missing (calcium, vitamins K and D) and provides less of the one you're likely to overdo (vitamin A)," says the writer.
The Best of Supplements 2010
by Editors of Better Nutrition
Our AssessmentBetter Nutrition magazine focuses on helping people live healthy lifestyles with natural products. Editors choose 75 of their favorite supplements based on input from an advisory board and interviews with owners of health food stores. No testing is conducted to ensure the recommended supplements contain the ingredients on the label or dissolve properly. Two kids' multivitamins and two adult multis are recommended.
Best Supplements for Kids (2010)
by Editors of Kiwi Magazine
Our AssessmentThis family and parenting magazine devoted to natural health discusses children's multivitamins and recommends several top picks. The Kiwi Awards are based on more than 1,000 parent votes for organic and natural vitamins. The winner is Nordic Naturals Nordic Berries, although multivitamin supplements from L'il Critters and Hero Nutritionals receive a good number of votes, as well. Nature's Way Prenatal Multivitamin also wins an award.
Q&A: Liquid Vitamins -- Better Absorption?
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentWhile advocates of liquid multivitamins say these pricey supplements are better absorbed by the body, ConsumerReports.org editors say there's no evidence to support this claim. Studies suggest that there's no difference in absorption between pills and liquids.
Lead in Multivitamins: Which Brands Are Safe?
by Stephanie Rogers
Our AssessmentA Food and Drug Administration study of lead in multivitamins may cause some consumers alarm, but this writer says there's a reason why 99 percent of the multis tested contain some trace of lead. Lead is found in soil and water, is transferred to fruits and vegetables, and makes its way into vitamins. While it may be impossible to avoid small traces of lead, Rogers recommends choosing those multis that contain the smallest amount.
by Contributors to Drugstore.com
Our AssessmentDrugstore.com is home to a good number of user reviews of multivitamins, but their sorting feature makes it difficult to tell which supplement earns the best ratings. Several multis attract a substantial number of ratings, but reviews are usually brief.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentFew multivitamins attract more than a handful of customer reviews here, but the site is worth checking -- especially for popular vitamins. The vast majority of multis mentioned in this report are listed on Amazon.com, but most don't offer any user feedback.
The Vitamin Scare: Should You Be Worried?
by Editors of Men's Health
Our AssessmentThis article is a question-and-answer session with the president of ConsumerLab.com, Tod Cooperman, M.D., after his company found traces of lead in numerous brands of multivitamins and minerals.