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Inactive Ingredients in Centrum -- Bottle of Centrum Vitamins

Answer:

Concerns have been raised about the safety of certain ingredients in some Centrum multivitamins, especially binders, fillers and coloring agents, such as polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, BHT, modified corn starch, and coloring agents such as Yellow 6 Lake and titanium dioxide. These ingredients are not unique to Centrum vitamins but are found in many brands of multivitamins and other supplements.

ConsumerLab.com has reviewed the evidence regarding the safety of these ingredients (which are listed as "Other ingredients" on supplements and as "Inactive ingredients" on medicines to distinguish them from "Active" ingredients) in our article about review article about Inactive Ingredients. Be aware that some ingredients, such as certain coloring agents, may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, and concerns have been raised about some inactive ingredients that are permitted in dietary supplements in the U.S., such as silicone dioxide and titanium dioxide. Sign in to the full answer for details.

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5 Comments

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John11526
December 28, 2016

There are many GRAS or FDA approved products which does not mean that these are necessarily safe. There are many drugs that are FDA approved that have black box warnings which have not been taken off the market are are very much a danger to some individuals. The excipients in your answer are cause for concern no matter if they are in small amounts. That is to say, an individual may be getting these same excipients in other foods throughout the day. There's no research that sets a limit to what is safe or unsafe. In short, I believe there's enough research against the excipients in your answer, to warrant extreme caution. These dyes are banned in Europe and corn starch is GMO. BHT also banned in parts of Europe and linked to cancer. Do I really think a little of this everyday in my multi won't hurt me? I personally had an extremely severe reaction to polyethylene glycol, a known nervous system toxicant. The FDA says so...as they warn against taking Miralax which contains this toxic preservative. This is just another example of an "approved" exicipient that they warn the public about, but yet it is still "approved". So, in short, we must all do our own research and decide for ourselves how much or how little of these toxic excipients we wish to risk taking.

ConsumerLab.com
January 5, 2017

Hi John - We agree with you that it is important to question the ingredients in products. We should note, however, that some of the things you wrote are not quite correct. For example, there are limits on the amounts of excipients permitted in products. In addition, while concern has been raised regarding the product Miralax, the FDA has not warned against its use but it investigating its effects on children: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/06/science/scrutiny-for-a-childhood-remedy.html?_r=0

John11572
January 5, 2017

I respectfully differ with you. You misunderstood the text. I am saying that it is impossible to know how many excipients one is ingesting throughout the day from various other sources. The "research" doesn't take this into account, and therefore may be valid (safe) for ingesting one source of these exicipients, but nonetheless is not valid as a whole, in sum.

Arch8510
March 9, 2016

Centrum and other old brands of vitamins have very weak concentrations as I remember. I go with a more modern formula. The coloration is of no benefit, even if harmless, but only to make the pills look a certain way.

ConsumerLab.com
March 11, 2016

Hi Arch - As discussed in the "What CL Found" section of the Multivitamin Review ( https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/multivitamin-review-comparisons/multivitamins/#whatCLfound), Centrum products tend to provide the daily requirements of vitamin and minerals, as opposed to more (such as in "high-potency" or "mega" vitamins). We do not consider those amounts "weak" for most people, and they balance efficacy with safety. There are situations, however, in which Centrum has added very small amounts of other, non-essential, ingredients which could be considered weak.

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