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Dr. Oz Shares Multi-Vitamin Safety Recommendations

Tim Boyer's picture

Multi-vitamin safety has been a contentious issue lately with some recent studies indicating that taking a daily multi-vitamin pill may cause an individual more harm than good. Dr. Oz addresses the issue of multi-vitamin safety with three reasons why your multi-vitamins may not be safe for you.

The first reason Dr. Oz gives about why your multi-vitamin may not be safe for you is that some vitamin pills provide what he calls ‘pharmaceutical’ doses that are much higher than what you could possibly get from eating food during a meal. To achieve the same dose in food as in a vitamin pill you would have to eat the equivalent of a bushel of produce.

“Why would I give my body such a high dose of any vitamin that I could not possibly have gotten in Nature? My argument would be that if I am doing that, then I am taking a pharmaceutical dose of the vitamin,” says Dr. Oz.

Dr. Oz points out that people need to read the labels on their multi-vitamin bottles to see what they are actually consuming. “One of the biggest mistakes we make is that we think that just because it says ‘multi-vitamin’ that they are all created equal. And the real challenge for us to figure out is—do we need them, and which ones of those specific vitamins should be in each one. My concerns are what is supposed to be in the multi-vitamin. So the first thing I want to talk about is overdoses of the vitamins A and E.”

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Dr. Oz explains that what otherwise should provide protective antioxidant effects, in realty turns out to be “pro-oxidant” effects that damages blood vessels when Vitamin A levels are too high. “I’m changing my recommendations for Vitamin A,” states Dr. Oz. “I used to recommend 5000 units.” However, Dr. Oz tells his viewers to look at the label on their bottle of multi-vitamins and choose the one that says “3500 IU (international units)” for Vitamin A. “That 3500 number should be your goal,” advises Dr. Oz.

Another antioxidant, Vitamin E, may be a problem too for some men. Taking too much Vitamin E may increase the risk of a man developing prostate cancer by as much as seventeen percent, warns Dr. Oz as he mentions the results of one recent study. “Vitamin E, that’s the one that we thought that in high doses might be increasing prostate cancer rates. I’ve always recommended low doses of Vitamin E. So, I’m going to stay the same there, I’m not going to change—it’s 30 units per dose,” says Dr. Oz.

Iron is a second reason why your multi-vitamin may not be safe for you. “Taking iron when you don’t need it is actually bad for you,” says Dr. Oz. “You should not have iron if you are post-menopausal or if you are a guy.” He explains that too much iron can cause damage to your arteries and that if you are not excluded from taking iron, that the dose in your vitamin pill should be only 18 milligrams—that’s for women of childbearing age and nobody else recommends Dr. Oz. Hardening of the arteries caused by excess iron is the reason why you do not want iron in your multi-vitamin pill if you do not meet health criteria for needing supplemental iron.

Calcium is Dr. Oz’s second reason why your multi-vitamin may not be safe for you. “Calcium is a problem,” says Dr. Oz, “because calcium binds to the other vitamins and prevents them from getting absorbed. Your multi-vitamin should have no more than 200 milligrams in it.”

He also adds that if you take a calcium supplement along with a multi-vitamin that you should take the calcium supplement at least two hours before or after taking a multi-vitamin pill. The calcium supplement can be up to 600 milligrams, but be sure it also contains 400 milligrams of magnesium, otherwise the calcium can cause constipation.

In summary, Dr. Oz’s recommendations for multi-vitamin safety is to read your multi-vitamin labels and see what you are getting and how much; limit your doses of Vitamin A to 3500 IU’s and 30 IU’s for Vitamin E.; if you postmenopausal or a man, do not take supplemental iron; and, when taking large doses of supplemental calcium remember that it may bind-up other vitamins, and insure that the calcium contains magnesium to prevent constipation.



It's impossible to get any 1 multivitamin that has everything you want in the doses you want them in and on the other hand it's ridiculous to buy each vitamin individually - what to do, what to do...
Yep, I agree with you. I wanted a multivitamin without iron in it, but alas and alack could not find one.
One A Day Mens Health Formula, 3500 vit a, no iron, 210 calcium... One a day womens is bad it contains alot of iron and calcium too bad I was taking it for like a year, thinking it was the same basically, it always made me feel naseous and generally unwell and anxious... it maybe was the iron the mens formula does not seem to do that to me
Carlson mini multi. A very high quality tablet with no unnecessary ingredients or ridiculous percentages of RDA.
Try one of the Alive products. Women's 50+ multi contains 3500 iu of A no iron but 500mg of calcium. Don't know about the men's formula.
Try Alive for men. The women's 50+ formula has no iron, 500 Mg calcium and 3500iu of A.
get one for women 50+ - usually much the same but no iron (may have more Calcium and Vit D though- good to check)
Where the heck are you looking? It's pretty hard to find a mens vitamin with iron
You eat foods with all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Yes, it is best to get what you needs from foods, but I think I'd end up weighing 350 pounds if I ate everything that was required. My Dr. recommended reading Jillian Michael's Boost Your Metabolism, I've just started, but it seems to be clear and concise and that's what I need. It can become all to overwhelming, you know? Thank you for your comment :)
That would be great if you could eat fresh organic right out of the garden, but not many people can get what they physically need out of overcooked dead food.
My name is Donna and i have hypertension along with cholesterol. I take crestor and BP pills. I was thinking of taking the vitamin Alive and wanted to know if you think this would be good for me to take to give me energy? ty waiting for your answer
IU stands for INTERNATIONAL units- not injection! Don't mess that one up..
they sell iron free multivitamins for men and women at GNC check them out online
I use mega food whole food multi-vitamin for men and I like it so far.
I use a dollar store brand of one a day women's and it meets all the criteria written above (vit A. 2500 iu, iron 18 mg, vit.E 22.5 iu) only thing is calcium is 500 mg instead of 200mg, but this multivitamin works great for me.
I read somewhere that you want a mulitvitamin with less that 2500 IU, yet Oz says 3500 is right. That's a relief to me since I've been taking the Equate version multivitamins and they have 3500 IU in them. Another thing; I'm a 22 year old male, I'm often tired and I've been told by my mother that i'm anemic (also have nose bleeds quite easily sometimes), should I be taking iron supplements?
IU stands for international units not international injection. If you can't get basic medical terminology right, you shouldn't be giving medical advice.
Thank you Lisa; we have corrected the error - and just for clarity - we don't give medical advice.