Is Centrum Multivitamin Safe?

Some Centrum products are specific for women or men, while others intended are for children or adults over 50.
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Centrum makes a variety of different multivitamins, including Centrum Adults, Centrum Advance and Centrum Prenatal. Some of their products are specific for women or men, while others intended are for children or adults over 50.

Tip

Multivitamins, including Centrum products, are generally safe. However, most people don't need to take multivitamins or dietary supplements. Any multivitamin can be toxic when consumed in excessive quantities. If you choose to consume a dietary supplement, make sure you only consume the recommended amount.

Centrum Adult Multivitamins

Centrum's adult multivitamins are sold in various countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Different Centrum products are sold in other countries. For example, Centrum Prenatal, which is a multivitamin sold by Centrum for pregnancy, is sold in Canada, but not in the United States or Australia.

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Centrum Adults, which is the standard adult multivitamin sold by Centrum in the United States, contains dozens of essential vitamins and minerals. Each tablet contains:

  • 117% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin A
  • 67% of the DV for vitamin C
  • 125% of the DV for vitamin D
  • 90% of the DV for vitamin E
  • 21% of the DV for vitamin K
  • 125% of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • 131% of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • 125% of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • 200% of the DV for vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • 118% of the DV for vitamin B6
  • 100% of the DV for biotin
  • 167% of the DV for vitamin B9 (folic acid)
  • 250% of the DV for vitamin B12
  • 200% of the DV for calcium
  • 100% of the DV for iron
  • 20% of the DV for phosphorus
  • 100% of the DV for iodine
  • 12% of the DV for magnesium
  • 100% of the DV for zinc
  • 100% of the DV for selenium
  • 100% of the DV for copper
  • 100% of the DV for manganese
  • 100% of the DV for chromium
  • 100% of the DV for molybdenum
  • 72% of the DV for chloride
  • 2% of the DV for potassium

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Read more: The 10 Best Supplements

Centrum Adult vs. Centrum Advance

International companies sometimes rebrand their products under different names, but essentially end up selling the same product. This is not the case for Centrum.

For example, Centrum United Kingdom's standard adult multivitamin, known as Centrum Advance, is very different from the Centrum United States' Centrum Adult. As this product is for the European market, it's prepared based on the European Union Food Information Directive, which recommends slightly different amounts of nutrients than the United States' National Institutes of Health.

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Using the National Institutes of Health recommended daily values as a reference, the following chart shows the DVs for Centrum Advance's European standards for a single tablet recalculated for United States standards.

  • 89% of the DV for vitamin A
  • 111% of the DV for vitamin C
  • 25% of the DV for vitamin D
  • 100% of the DV for vitamin E
  • 25% of the DV for vitamin K
  • 117% of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • 135% of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • 125% of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • 150% of the DV for vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • 118% of the DV for vitamin B6
  • 208% of the DV for biotin
  • 50% of the DV for vitamin B9 (folic acid)
  • 104% of the DV for vitamin B12
  • 12.5% of the DV for calcium
  • 28% of the DV for iron
  • 10% of the DV for phosphorus
  • 67% of the DV for iodine
  • 24% of the DV for magnesium
  • 45% of the DV for zinc
  • 55% of the DV for selenium
  • 56% of the DV for copper
  • 87% of the DV for manganese
  • 114% of the DV for chromium
  • 111% of the DV for molybdenum

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As you can see, most of the same essential nutrients are present in both Centrum Adult and Centrum Advance. However, these vitamins and minerals are found in very different amounts. There's also no chloride or potassium found in Centrum Advance.

Multivitamins and Your Health

If you take any vitamin, including Centrum, toxic effects can develop if consumed in excessive quantities. However, this isn't because multivitamin products are necessarily bad for you. According to a January 2018 study in the European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, even low doses of essential nutrients in multivitamins have the potential to cause toxicity, affecting the health of your liver.

Toxicity is an issue with virtually any nutrient unless it's water-soluble. Although vitamins and minerals are essential for your health, this means that in large quantities, they can also be harmful.

Vitamins like B-complex vitamins and vitamin C are water-soluble. When consumed in large amounts, they are excreted by your urine. Colorado State University Extension says that vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. This means that your body stores them and they can build up in large quantities.

You might be wondering why toxicity is even an issue, given that these products are meant to be good for your health. A January 2018 study in the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology reported that supplements don't have to be registered or approved by the Food and Drug Administration before being put on the market. Additionally, no clinical trials are required prior to them being sold.

Most people don't need to take multivitamins or any other supplement. You should be able to get the nutrients you need through the foods you eat, as long as you consume a healthy, balanced diet.

However, the University of Wisconsin Health does recommend multivitamins for certain people, like pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with certain health conditions. People following certain diets, like plant-based or calorie-restricted diets, may also want to consider taking a dietary supplement.

Read more: How Vegans Can Get All Their Nutrients (Without Taking Supplements)

Tip

Some conditions can get worsen by taking certain supplements. If you have any health problems, make sure to talk to your doctor or dietitian before you start taking a multivitamin.

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