"The Dosages Are Too Low To Harm Us"
A completely empty statement.
Health products should never have to be clarified by the phrase, “the doses are too low to harm you." One exception that comes to mind is the addition of fluoride into toothpaste and mouthwash. I will briefly compare the toxin known as fluoride with the toxins found in multivitamins.
Fluoride is known to be a toxin in higher doses; this is why products that contain Fluoride always warn us against swallowing them. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and mouthwash because it is generally accepted to have benefits to our bones and teeth (Source). Unlike fluoride, there are no benefits to the toxins found in Centrum and there is no warning informing us not to swallow the pills (oh, the irony). If instead of fluoride toothpaste contained sodium metavanadate, nickel, trans fats, talc, and aluminum, would there be a warning against swallowing it?
The Question No One Should Ask
"How many milligrams of heavy metals are safe to consume?"
If you do some digging, you may find that there is no information on how many milligrams of things like Sodium Metavanadate and Nickel are "safe" to consume. No one answers this question because no website owner, author, company, or organization would ever think that such information would be necessary to share (outside of saying "more than 0mg is dangerous").
Asking if heavy metals are safe to consume at low levels in a multivitamin is like asking, "How much lead should I use to paint my bedroom walls?" or "How much pesticide should I use as salad dressing?" or "How much rat poison should I add to my dog's food?"
There is no need to ask such questions because the answer is obvious: Do not consume any of that stuff, it is extremely dangerous and is to be avoided at all costs.
Allow me to rephrase that: Do not consume Centrum or any similar supplement, those products are extremely dangerous and are to be avoided at all costs.
A Pointless Argument
Discussing the levels of heavy metals in multivitamins is all moot anyway because we will never know how much of each compound is in the products. The U.S. Government is unequipped to detect the amounts of asbestos in talc (See my article here: Source). Are they equipped to detect the levels of heavy metals in multivitamins? We will never know because our government ignores the ingredients in these products (See my article here: Source) and stays out of the way of Pfizer.
Does anyone on Earth actually know how many milligrams of each heavy metal is in Centrum and similar products? Honestly, knowing the exact amount would not make any difference and here's why: Based on the research contained in my articles, it has become clear that for some people (consider: genetics, diet, environment, stress levels, lifestyle choices) just 0.01mg of nickel taken orally every day for 1-5 years is enough to cause cancer. What about other toxins?
Aluminum: Kidney Failure and Alzheimer's
Trans Fats: Weakened Immune System and Decreased Cell Function
Talc (Containing Asbestos): Mesothelioma and Kidney Failure
Sodium Metavanadate: Cancer and Compromised Immune System
"You Are Exaggerating These Dangers"
It would be difficult to make the argument that I am blowing this out of proportion because I am using peer-reviewed research and government documents to prove my points. I also bring up the variables that we can not detect or control so I really can not exaggerate the risks short of saying that the pills will cause death... ...soon after taking them (keyword being soon).
I am very open to being proven wrong and I hope someone will search for the documentation to do so. Keep in mind that to make the argument that I have exaggerated the dangers of popular multivitamins would require disproving countless journal articles and government documents.
Just Remove The ToxinsEven if the toxins were removed, those multivitamins are worthless and harmful.
Later in this article, I will point out that the dosages and forms used in Centrum are in themselves worthless and dangerous. Vitamins can be dangerous. Synthetic vitamins are a topic I am not covering in detail but Centrum is full of them and they are very dangerous to a certain percentage of the population. I recommend researching that topic on your own as it is a very important topic for anyone who takes multivitamins to understand (Here's the short of it: Take Folate, not Folic Acid and avoid synthetic Vitamin E). The reason I am not including it in detail is that it is not the point of this project but it is worth pointing out in case anyone wants to learn more.
If Anything, I Have Underexaggerated
There are plenty of research articles that I did not include.
Following most of the links I provide will lead to articles that have their own sources. Following those will lead to more and so on. I encourage everyone to do their own research. It is all free and available to the public.
"You Health Nuts Think Everything is Bad"
The word "toxin" has been thrown around a lot in the dietary supplement/natural health industries and so it has lost its power. The same is true about the phrases "causes cancer" and "harmful to your health."
In addition, some say broccoli is bad while others insist soy is harmful. Fad diets pop up and are then disproven one year later. Right now protein is in and in five years healthy fats will probably be "in."
Well, I want to be clear that I am not trying to garner attention by writing some two-bit article on a random vegetable, trying to throw out meaningless phrases, or catering to a fad. Let me be clear that all of my work here is original and my foundation is research.
Allow me to rephrase my statements in a way that is more potent and very original.
Some of the ingredients in Centrum multivitamins have been shown to be necrotic, noxious, and lethal.
Some of the ingredients in Centrum multivitamins have been shown to cause tumors, promote an earlier death, and increase the rate at which humans develop dementia.
Every bottle containing talc and sodium metavanadate deserves a big skull and crossbones sticker placed on the label. (That is not a call-to-action. It's just common sense.)
"Those Ingredients are Necessary"
That is easily disprovable.
I have worked in the supplement industry and I have my own line of dietary supplements so I am very familiar with the necessary ingredients in Softgels, capsules, and tablets. The toxins contained in Centrum are by no means necessary for the stability, production, solubility, or structure of the tablets.
Megafoods, which is an excellent international supplement company, uses only natural plant materials to create their tablets. I have used their products for years and I have never had any issues with their tablets.
Megafoods' tablet form multivitamins do not contain any toxins.
Life Extension's tablet form multivitamins do not contain any toxins.
Garden of Life's tablet form multivitamins do not contain any toxins.
There are plenty of other tablets on the market that do not contain all of these toxins so we must not fool ourselves into thinking that "Centrum must use them."
Why Would They Want to Add Toxins into Centrum?
I do not know why they use them. One could speculate that Pfizer has the motive to cause disease since they are a large pharmaceutical company. If they want to appease shareholders then they need people to be sick. Do not forget that we are talking about the company that was recently found guilty of having illegally tested a new product on 200 Nigerian children and then left the country after their three-week trial was done.
"You Cannot Quantify These Dangers"
So should we not err on the side of preventing disease?
Let us consider what it would take to quantify the dangers of heavy metals in our supplements (keeping in mind we have already covered asbestos, sodium metavanadate, trans fats, and the other non-heavy metal toxins).
The detrimental effects of heavy metals cannot be easily summed up or understood in simple terms as there are many factors involved (Source). Consider, for example, that out of the millions of Americans who take multivitamins containing heavy metals, some of those Americans live in polluted areas while others work around car exhausts or in other physically toxic environments. In polluted cities, heavy metal ions can be found floating around in the air. (Source) (Source).
If two people consume a tiny amount of nickel every day (via Centrum) for several years, one person may already have nickel in their bloodstream from living in a busy city. The multivitamin combined with the toxins in the environment could cause that person develop Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or even cancer (Source). Genetics play a role in this as well; even a healthy individual living in a toxin-free environment may have a liver that is unable to properly process heavy metals and so the Nickel in Centrum could contribute to a serious illness.
Can we quantify the heavy metal pollution in the air on a given day in a given area and then add it to the amount of heavy metals consumed from food or supplements by a certain person and then take into account a person's unique biochemistry in order to determine the exact amount of harm caused to the person? Should we do this for every person who takes or has ever taken Centrum? Should Centrum come with a free blood test to make sure you will not develop cancer after taking it for a year or more?
If we could get an accurate calculation of all those factors, then we could find out exactly how harmful those products really are on a personal and individualized level. Instead
A vast number of people consuming low amounts of trans-fats, aluminum, tin, nickel sodium metavanadate, and talc is, at the very least, a major health concern.
I guess Pfizer did not ask the US Government what the "safe" levels of heavy metals are before throwing them into Centrum. Had they asked, I hope the answer would have been: "There is no such thing as a safe level of heavy metal. Besides, why would you want to put those poisonous compounds into a multivitamin?"
"The FDA Keeps Us Safe"
What exactly does the FDA do to regulate these products? Nothing.
The FDA Does Not Take This Seriously
The topic of multivitamins is multifaceted and, up to this point, I have intentionally been vague regarding dosages and forms of ingredients used in these products. This is not the place to go into detail about this topic but I want you to know something about which most people are unaware.
Even if these multivitamins contained zero toxins, the pills would still be worthless.
Why would they be worthless?
Various vitamins and minerals at certain dosages block each other's absorption in the body. Take for example that Vitamin A blocks Vitamin K1 (Source). Consider that calcium has not been shown to be beneficial when taken at dosages below 1000mg (Source) (Source).
In addition, Calcium Carbonate has more side effects than Calcium Citrate (Source). Magnesium Oxide is not well absorbed and when it is used as a source of magnesium and not as a pH balancing compound it can appropriately be viewed as a cheap filler (Source). Studies are also showing certain combinations, forms, and dosages of vitamins as supplements are very harmful to our health (Source).
What does all of that have to do with the FDA? Well, the FDA does not care about dosages or forms. They stay out of all that. Ironically, most supplement companies stay out of that as well. In other words, no one is paying attention to these important studies.
The FDA is certainly not paying attention. As far as the FDA is concerned, dietary supplements are just food in pills. We could put organic coconut oil into a vegetable capsule and it would be viewed with the same scrutiny that Centrum is viewed. The problem with this is that an organic coconut oil is well understood and known to be generally safe. Centrum is not well understood and not known to be safe.
Organic coconut oil (or ginger or turmeric or fish oil or saffron etc.) is not a collection of random metals and synthetic vitamins mashed into a barely-soluble calcium-based rectangle and produced using the cheapest possible ingredients and fillers. Understanding how human-made products react inside the body is important but no one is paying attention. Instead of using research and logic to determine the effects multivitamins have in the body, the FDA puts them on the same tier as healthy foods.
My point is that the FDA does not care about Centrum's ingredients or the research behind it. At this point, I am not making a judgment about whether or not the FDA should care. I just want to offer context so that you know how they view Centrum.
At What Point Does the FDA Step in?
It is important to understand that the FDA has very little to do with dietary supplements.
Can we trust the FDA to act on information that has been proven true using repeatable, journal-published, time-tested, and peer-reviewed studies? Absolutely not.
Can we trust the FDA to act on the information on their own website or the information they have put out in public statements and documents? Absolutely not.
Can we trust the FDA to test dietary supplements and multivitamins to find the levels of harmful compounds? Absolutely not.
When it comes to Centrum and other popular multivitamins, we cannot expect the FDA to act on the preliminary studies, common sense, or even journal published studies. Heck, we can not even trust them to act upon their own rulings.
Take for example that the FDA decided that Hydrogenated Palm Oil and other trans fats are unsafe to consume in foods. The FDA has no problem with Hydrogenated Palm Oil being put into health supplements (Source). When trans fats are used in food, they serve the purpose of keeping the food solid at higher temperatures, when trans fats are added to tablets they serve no purpose but have the side effect of contradicting the beneficial ingredients of the health supplements.
It is clear that Pfizer and all the copy-cat multivitamin makers are all permitted to add any ingredients they desire to their products and the FDA will stay out of their business.
What Has The FDA Done in Regards to Supplements?
Here are some things the good people of the FDA do well and I appreciate them for it:
- They inspect, approve, and register manufacturing facilities.
- They inspect and approve labels for accuracy.
- They force recalls when companies put ephedra or other illegal substances into products.
- They sometimes require companies to send in their supplement for review in order to ensure quality.
I talk the talk but do I walk the walk?
Let us look at what I have done.
I understand that the FDA can not "do it all." And sure, they may lack resources and funding but I have little sympathy for them. I have been doing this project completely on my own and I have no funding what-so-ever. During this time I have also been raising a child, starting my own business, and living my life.
I hold a Bachelor's of Science and I am by no means a doctor or government employee. I have had to learn most of the concepts here on my own and I am 26 years old. If I do not need excuses to expose Centrum, then surely government agencies should not need them.
I get it, maybe the work I have done is not in the job description of anyone at the FDA. If that is the case, then perhaps we should start finding a solution to that problem as well.
Regardless of what the FDA's excuses are, please do not think that the FDA does or will ever do any of the following.
These are some of the things I have done:
- Look at ingredients lists of hundreds of products and compare them to high-quality research to make sure they are safe and effective.
- Report the dangers of popular products to the public.
- Reached out to these companies to warn them about their dangerous ingredients.
- Offer a solution to the problem.
- Expose the corporations behind this and make all of my information public, transparent, and freely available.
- Respond to emails (I am still waiting for the FDA to respond to my email).
"Centrum Has Been Well Studied"
There is no evidence to support the idea that Centrum has been well studied.
The makers of Centrum once put out a study in order to become more reputable and, even though the study was later shown to be false, the company's popularity with the public increased because Centrum became known for having a "journal published study" (regardless of its legitimacy). I cover this in more detail here.
When I called them and asked to see their research, they had nothing to offer me.
"Conflict of Interest"
It may appear as though I am attacking a competitor but Pfizer and Bayer Pharma do not make the products I sell. If anything, I am opening myself up to scrutiny regarding my own products.
I can dish it out and I can take it. If someone wants to review my products to find issues and report them to me, I would love that! My goal is to improve health and share knowledge. I am not hiding in the shadows but right here with you.
I have politely contacted Pfizer, the FDA, and Bayer Pharma multiple times to try to handle this without rudely garnering public attention but they have not taken me seriously. Big mistake, my powerful friends. :)
"Why Should I Care?"
Friends don't let friends take Centrum.
Someone you know may be promoting Centrum (or any cheap store brand multivitamin) or using it every day.
While millions of Americans are increasing their chance of disease by taking Centrum and similar products, huge corporations are being allowed to:
- Put toxins (according to the U.S. Government) into their products.
- Lie on their labels (according to the fact that they withdrew label claims and... ...it is obvious they were lying).
- Put together biased and fake studies.
- Make billions of dollars every year by selling pills packed full of toxins.
- Profit by causing harm to a huge portion of the U.S. population.