If you take a multivitamin, it’s because you care about your health. A lot of people take vitamins as a general precaution, and not for any specific reason. Most of them would be surprised to find out that unless prescribed for a specific need (such as folate for pregnancy), doctors say it’s a complete “waste of money“. (writeup by The Atlantic)

What’s worse, multivitamins (especially Vitamin A and iron), are implicated in 30% of liver failure. Depending on what you’re taking and how much, you might as well be an alcoholic. Your liver suffers for it all the same.

The Vitamin Myth is wide spread. When combined with the unregulated and often false labeling of herbal supplements, it’s a minefield out there.

This was of particular concern when my wife and I were looking for prenatal folic acid. I went to seven stores looking for folate, which is still recommended as insurance against neural tube defects, even though fortified breads and cereals have been effective at reducing them nationwide. The problem was that most of the folic acid we found only came in unverified prenatal multivitamins that were high in iron (which causes constipation, fyi).

Supplement companies are cashing in on the Vitamin Myth, and can be sneaky. How could I know that my wife was actually getting folate and not plant filler or useless minerals? One way to be sure that your vitamin is accurately labelled is to look for a USP verification seal. But be careful, some vitamins will list a specific USP code without the seal. When I looked up one particular code it only meant that the pills were accurately weighed, but didn’t verify any of the ingredients. It can be frustrating.

If the vitamins really contain the ingredients on the label, why wouldn’t they have it independently verified for their customers? It’s the least they could do.

↓ Transcript
You usually take a lot of multivitamins, right?
Of course, look at this physique.

Why take all those vitamins if you don't have a deficiency?
Why not take more of them?

I'd bring up liver damage, if it wasn't already a moot point.

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