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Product Review: Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements Review
 


HOW PRODUCTS WERE EVALUATED:
How Products were Selected:

Products were selected to represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. and Canada. ConsumerLab.com purchased products on the open market through retail stores, online retailers, catalogues, or multi-level marketing companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.

Testing Methods:
Products were analyzed in one or more independent laboratories for the following:
  1. Products claiming to contain ingredient levels of at least 10% of the adult recommended Daily Value (DV) at their maximum suggested daily serving size were analyzed for their vitamin and mineral index elements (one oil-soluble vitamin, one water-soluble vitamin, and one mineral; prioritized in the order shown in paragraph 1 of "Passing Score" below) using the AOAC (Association of Analytical Communities), USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or other appropriate methods for multivitamin/Multimineral formulations.
  2. Analyses for lead, arsenic, cadmium and minerals performed using an Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS ) for products containing whole herbs and/or more than 250 mg of minerals per daily dose.
  3. Prenatal products will be analyzed for iodine content by appropriate methodology.
  4. Non-chewable, non-capsule and non-time-release formulations analyzed for disintegration time utilizing United States Pharmacopeia (USP) <2040> recommendations entitled "Disintegration and Dissolution of Nutritional Supplements."

Products contracted in the voluntary Quality Certification Program (QCP) claiming to be Gluten Free were analyzed for gluten by Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA).

Any product not passing any initial testing criteria was sent to a second independent laboratory for repeat analysis using similar methodologies.

Identities of products were not disclosed to laboratories performing the analyses.

Passing Score:*
To achieve a "Pass" in the testing, a product had to:
  1. Contain at least 100% and no more than 165% of its claimed amount of oil soluble index vitamins, no more than 150% of its claimed amount of water soluble index vitamins and no more than 125% of the index minerals (as described below). For products claiming less than 10% of the adult DV for calcium or magnesium, or less than 50 mg of vitamin C, must contain at least 100% and no more than 25 mg over the claimed amount.

    Products are tested for at least one index element in each category. The first element within each applicable category is selected unless not claimed in the product, in which case, the next claimed element is selected. Any product claiming vitamin A must meet its claimed amount for total vitamin A (beta-carotene and retinol combined) as well as meet any claimed ratio of beta-carotene to total vitamin A. However, an overage must not cause the product to exceed any Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL).
    • Oil—soluble vitamins
      • Vitamin A (levels of beta carotene and retinal (retinyl acetate or palmitate evaluated independently) 100% (FDA) to 165% (USP 36)
      • Vitamin D 100% (FDA) to 165% (USP 36)
      • Vitamin E (natural and synthetic forms) 100% (FDA) to 165% (USP 36)
    • Water—soluble vitamins
      • Folic acid (folate) 100% (FDA) to 150% (USP 36)
      • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 100% (FDA) to 150% (USP 36)
      • B Vitamins – Niacin or Pyridoxine or Riboflavin 100% (FDA) to 150% (USP 36)
    • Minerals
      • Calcium 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP 36)
      • Iron 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP 36)
      • Zinc 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP 36)
      • Magnesium 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP 36)
  2. Prenatal products must contain at least 100% (FDA) and no more than 165% (USP 36) of its claimed amount of iodine per daily serving.
  3. Heavy Metals: Products containing whole herbs and/or more than 250 mg of minerals per daily dose must not exceed the following limits:
    Lead**:
    • Products marketed for use by children may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.8 mcg if the product contains more than 1,000 mg/day of calcium.
    • Products with a single serving weights of less than 5 grams which are not marketed for use by children, may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.4 mcg if containing 250-999 mg/day of any combination of elemental calcium, magnesium and potassium or 0.8 mcg if containing more than 1,000 mg/day of any combination of these minerals. An additional allowance of 0.5 mcg is provided if containing 250-999 mg/day of whole herb (not extract) or 1.0 mcg if containing 1000 mg/day or more of whole herb (not extract). However, total lead allowance will not exceed 2 mcg.
    • Products with single serving weights of 5 grams or more which are not marketed for children may not exceed 2.5 mcg per serving nor 4.0 mcg per daily serving.
    Cadmium**: If marketed for use by children, may not exceed 3.0 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on Canada's limit for a child weighing 75 lbs.). If not marketed for use by children, may not exceed 4.1 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on the State of California's Prop 65 limit).
    Arsenic: Contain less than 10 micrograms of total arsenic and no more than 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per daily serving (EPA and state of New Jersey limits - based on 1 liter of water).
  4. Gluten: Products tested in the voluntary Quality Certification Program labeled "Gluten-free" must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten per serving (FDA); products with large serving sizes (>5 grams or 5 mL) must contain less than 5 ppm of gluten per serving (ConsumerLab.com applies this stricter requirement on products with larger servings).
  5. If applicable to the product, it must meet recommended USP <2040> parameters of disintegration for dietary supplements (excluding capsule, chewable and time-release products).
  6. Be in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.
*Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.

** If available for sale in California, a product that exceeds the State of California's Prop 65 lead limit requires a warning label. However, with or without this warning label, a product cannot pass ConsumerLab.com testing if it exceeds the levels described in this paragraph.

ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.





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