How Products were Selected:Products tested represent those commonly sold and/or available in the U.S. ConsumerLab.com purchased products on the open market through retail stores, online retailers, and direct sales. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.
Testing Methods:Products were analyzed in one or more independent laboratories for the following. Identities of products were not disclosed to laboratories performing the testing.
- 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 by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and one mineral by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS); prioritized in the order shown in paragraph 1 of "Passing Score" below) using methodologies from the AOAC (Association of Analytical Communities), USP-DSC 2022 (United States Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplement Compendium) or other appropriate methods for multivitamin/Multimineral formulations.
- Prenatal products were additionally analyzed for iodine content by appropriate methodology.
- Analyses for lead, arsenic and cadmium by ICP-MS for products containing whole herbs and/or any vitamin supplement containing more than 130 mg of minerals per daily serving including any product with a declared amount of dicalcium phosphate.
- Disintegration of tablets (excluding chewable, sublingual and time-release formulations utilizing United States Pharmacopeia (USP) <2040> methodology for the disintegration of dietary supplements.
ConsumerLab.com may modify or use other appropriate test methods if necessary to test special product formulations.
Identities of products were not disclosed to laboratories performing the testing.
Passing Score:*To be approved by Consumerlab.com, a product a product had to meet the following requirements.
- 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. All formulations, including gummies, were held to the same standards, which are largely based on requirements for tablets and capsules as these are the most stringent standards.
Products were 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 D 100% (FDA) to 165% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Vitamin A (levels of beta carotene and retinal (retinyl acetate or palmitate evaluated independently) 100% (FDA) to 165% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Vitamin E (natural and synthetic forms) 100% (FDA) to 165% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Water-soluble vitamins
- Folic acid (folate) 100% (FDA) to 150% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 100% (FDA) to 150% (USP-DSC 2022)
- B Vitamins - Niacin or Pyridoxine or Riboflavin 100% (FDA) to 150% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Iron 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Zinc 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Calcium 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Magnesium 100% (FDA) to 125% (USP-DSC 2022)
- Oil-soluble vitamins
- Prenatal products must contain at least 100% (FDA) and no more than 165% (USP-DSC 2022) of its claimed amount of iodine per daily serving.
- Heavy Metals: Products containing whole herbs and/or any vitamin supplement containing more than 130 mg or minerals per daily serving including any product with a declared amount of dicalcium phosphate must not exceed the following limits:
- Products marketed for use by children 12 years of age or younger 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.
- 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 (above which California's Prop 65 law requires a "reproductive harm" warning due to developmental toxicity and male reproductive harm).
- Contain less than 10 micrograms of total arsenic per daily serving (EPA limits and state of New Jersey limits - based on 1 liter of water). Products found to exceed this amount are tested for inorganic arsenic and must contain no more than 2.1 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per daily serving (Canada's limit in natural health products).
- Meet recommended USP <2040> parameters for disintegration for dietary supplement tablets (excluding chewable, sublingual, and time-release products).
- Be in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.