The Real Story Behind the Centrum Headlines
A doc from Harvard Medical School published some findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association on November 7, 2012. It’s been making the rounds ever since, so I thought you’d probably heard about it.
The two top-notch names like Harvard and AMA aside, you’ll want to know a few things before you start believing.
This study says multivitamins don’t help men prevent heart diseases. Other studies jump up and down, saying “Oh, yes, they do!”
I probably don’t need to tell you that both can’t be right. So, let’s have a look-see.
First, this wasn’t a study of actual people, but a study of another study. Well, that’s a red flag in itself, but the original study left much to be desired, too.
They asked a lot of doctors to take a multivitamin a day, then checked for results for 11.2 years. There was no control to ensure the multis were actually taken. Nor was there any reference to diet, exercise or other lifestyle choices-none of which are important to medicine.
More significantly, they chose a poor multi to study, Centrum Silver Ultra Men’s Multi, created by Big Pharma giant, Pfizer.
Let’s take a look at Centrum Silver. A close look, because just reading the list of ingredients doesn’t tell you what you need to know. So let’s look at “Other Ingredients,” which does better.
Centrum Silver contains the following problem ingredients:
• Calcium carbonate is an inferior form of calcium that’s not absorbed well. Actually, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because most of us don’t need more calcium than we get in our diet. (And it isn’t calcium that keeps our bones strong.)
• Potassium chloride combines potassium and chlorine. Chlorine whacks the thyroid.
• Dibasic calcium phosphate isn’t completely soluble because phosphate is too alkaline, so you can end up with wandering calcium that goes where it doesn’t belong, such as in arteries.
• Magnesium oxide is the cheapest, least absorbable form of magnesium-unfortunate since most of us are deficient in magnesium nowadays.
• dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate is a synthetic form of vitamin E that our bodies can’t use. Real vitamin E starts with a “d,” not “dl”-but even the real stuff can contain soy, which ruins the nutritional value.
• Corn starch causes an allergic reaction for many. Worse, corn is genetically modified so it messes with everybody’s DNA.
• Modified food starch is almost always soy, which does nobody any favors.
More ingredients of Centrum Silver
• Crospovidone, said to be an inert substance, has serious warning flares going off in a lot of directions.
• BHT is a preservative highly suspected of causing cancer. It’s banned in England.
• Boric acid is handy as an insecticide or flame retardant, but it’s poison when you throw it down the hatch. Long term use leads to catastrophes such as kidney failure.
• Three coloring agents, Blue#2, Red #40 and yellow. Blue#2 is the worst of the lot.
• Hydrogenated palm oil is a problem because while palm oil is terrific, hydrogenation ruins it and turns it against us.
• Polyethylene glycol is slightly toxic when ingested, and it can break down into formaldehyde.
• Silicon dioxide is an anti-caking agent suspected of causing kidney problems.
• Sodium benzoate is toxic and associated with many health problems such as asthma, liver problems, hyperactivity and such.
• Talc is a mineral closely related to asbestos, with similar characteristics.
• Titanium dioxide in cosmetics is known to cause grief, and it is suspected of doing so in supplements, too. It’s not found anywhere in our food supply, so maybe that’s a clue.
• Maltodextrin is almost always soy, and soy is always bad health news.
• Sodium aluminosilicate contains, as the name suggests, aluminum which creates a whole lot of grief in our bodies, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thinks it’s swell.
• Sunflower oil is an omega 6 oil that causes inflammation, which omega 6 oils are known to do.
• Tribasic calcium phosphate simply piles on what dibasic calcium phosphate starts.
The ingredients list was printed in teensy-tinesy type, so I may have missed some of the bad guys, but how much bad news do you need?
Unless the name, like dl vitamin E, told the story, I found no information about whether the vitamins and minerals-all synthetic-are bio-identical so our bodies benefit from taking them, or if they’re some off-the-wall stuff that can’t work.
All these ingredients get crushed together into a hard pill that may or may not dissolve. If it doesn’t dissolve, you’ve wasted your money, but at least you don’t have to deal with the ingredients.
Why would anyone expect good results from this multi? Even if, thanks to advertising, it’s a best seller?
This list of ingredients is exactly why Pep for the Pooped and the Moving to Health program give links to specific supplements-with ingredient lists vetted by me. We can’t take just any supplement; ingredients matter-a lot.
I don’t just tell you what, say, a B complex does for your health, but I also link you to one you want-and, since I’m not paid for my recommendations, at a good price.
It’s a jungle out there. We need all the help we can get.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.