ConsumerLabFolic AcidVitamins

Did you take a multivitamin today?

The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide warns, “The daily multivitamin pill is no substitute for a good diet. But none of us is perfect when it comes to healthful eating … The multivitamin is partial protection from our lapses.”

Their value is debated, but here’s the bottom line.

  • The US government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that people older than 50 take them as a way to ensure adequate vitamin B12 intake.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises all women of childbearing age to take folic acid. A multivitamin is also a good way to do that.

That leaves men under 50 as the only group where recommendations are lacking.

Recommendations for children and babies are discussed here.

One more thing.

Buying a multivitamin brand is not as easy as it might appear. reports, “A number of the products were significantly short in the amount of important vitamins or minerals. Some contained too much lead and another failed to break apart properly for absorption.”

Brands that passed their test are listed here.

12/6/06 21:56 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.