This article was written by Josh Gitalis, clinical nutritionist and Functional Medicine Specialist, and posted on Meghan Telpner's blog under the title "The Truth Behind Centrum: Supplement Or Chemical Cocktail?" After 20+ years of taking OTC nutritional supplements, from Centrum to GNC and all other in-between, still getting sick and seeing no benefit, I believe people are wasting money on drug store, grocery store or most any OTC supplement. I am aware that many people take these sub-standard daily supplements without any thought, without any analysis on how or if they are improving their life. Unfortunately many will find the cheapest supplements,...and that's the results you get!
"The Truth Behind Centrum: Supplement Or Chemical Cocktail?"
One of the most popular supplements on the market is the multi-vitamin Centrum. What many people don’t realize is that this multi-vitamin is probably doing more harm than good. Is Centrum a vitamin supplement of synthetic chemical cocktail?
A Few Centrum Facts:
• Centrum is a product produced by the company Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
• The dosages of most of the nutrients in Centrum are negligible and not even close to therapeutic levels.
• The forms that the nutrients are provided in are the cheapest and the least absorbable forms.
• Supplements that come in tablet form are often hard to digest and contain binders and fillers (more on this below).
• Water-soluble nutrients (vitamin C and the B-vitamins) are either used or excreted within about 4 hours. Thus, a one-a-day multi is completely useless and a sure sign that it is of poor quality.
The Ingredients In Centrum:
• Calcium Carbonate This is the least absorbable forms of calcium on the market. A very small percentage is actually absorbed.
• Ferrous Fumarate This form of iron is incredibly constipating.
• Pregelatinized Corn Starch This is used as a binder to hold all of the ingredients together. It most likely a genetically modified corn which presents a number of problems for sensitive people.
• DL-Alpha Tocopherol This is vitamin E and they are using two forms. The “D” form which is natural and the “L” Form which is synthetic. The “L” form is used to “water-down” the more expensive more bioactive “D” form.
• BHT Butylated hydroxyanisole has been shown to be toxic to the liver, thyroid, kidney, lungs, and affecting blood coagulation. BHT can act as a tumour promoter.
• FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake Why is there food colouring in a health supplement?
• Gelatin Vegetarians watch out!
• Hydrogenated Palm Oil Hydrogenating any oil turns the oil rancid and makes it into a strong free radical. Free radicals promote cancer and heart disease.
• Nickelous Sulfate and Tin I have never come across any nutrition book discussing a nickel or tin deficiency. Have you? We most likely don’t need to supplement it.
• Sodium Benzoate A preservative that may cause organ toxicity.
• Talc Has been shown to cause cancer.
• Sodium Aluminosilicate Used as a food additive for its anti caking effect.
One of my rules when shopping for nutritional supplements is to never buy supplements in a drug store. Centrum is only available in drug stores and is advertised as the “#1-recommended doctor multivitamin” (doctors receive no more than 40 hours of nutrition training). When it comes to a multi-vitamin I recommend going to a health food store and talking to to a trained health practitioner in the supplements department about a good-quality multi-vitamin.
Tips For Choosing A Multi-Vitamin:
• Looks for a multi where the dosage is at least 2-3 capsules per day.
• You pay for what you get. The more expensive the multi is, the better the product.
• Don’t buy it if it says “doctor-recomended” on the label or if a pharmaceutical company distributes it.
• Consult with a certified nutritionist to determine the right multi-vitamin for you.