Is Centrum A Good MultiVitamin Supplement?

May 12 200926 Commented

Categorized Under: Health supplement review

Centrum multivitamin

Centrum multivitamin

Centrum is a popular multi vitamin supplement that is heavily advertised in New Zealand. I’m sure you remember that it is the multi vitamin that Dame Susan Duvoy, New Zealand’s World Champion Squash Player use to promote.

So as you know, I have had a health shop for over 12 years now and what first made me look at Centrum was that I was getting so many people coming into the shop, really stressed out, really not feeling as well as they possibly could, looking exhausted and wanting some advice. As a Naturopath I would always go over their present medical history, supplements that they are taking, as well as any Pharmacuticals.  When I asked about the health supplements they were taking, I had some people tell me that they were taking Centrum®, so their nutritional needs must be covered – because they are taking this Multi-Vitamin.

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So after hearing this time and time again it made me really look into what is really in Centrum? Are these people really being provided with the nutrition that they need?

So I went and I got myself some Centrum. There are 3 separate types of Centrum products. One for people under 50 years of age, One for people over 50 years of age, and one for Children as well.



I decided to log onto Centrums website and read a little more about this Centrum multi vitamin supplement. To be honest I really got hacked off reading all of Centrums Marketing information, as well as having a look at the marketing information that Centrum had stated on the back of the products. The reason why is because it says specifically that “Centrum has been developed to give your body the right nutrients, at the right levels, so that your body can put Centrum to work, in the way that is best for you”.

I thought, What does this actually mean? What is this actually telling us? Because it really doesn’t mean a heck of a lot to me.  So what are the right levels? And what is this product actually for? The right levels for what? Now when I looked into this further, I found that Wyeth, the makers of Centrum, based the information (to determine the amount of nutrients they put into Centrum,) on a RDI for New Zealanders and Australian’s.

So what is an RDI?

First of all, I must say, that this is a new term for me because I had always heard of RDA (Recommended Daily allowance).  This however is a new measurement called RDI or Recommended Dietary Intake.  I quote,  “This reference range comes under a wider reference range of Nutrient Reference Values or “NRV’s”.  NRV’s outline the levels of intake of essential nutrients considered to be adequate to meet the known nutritional needs of practically all healthy people for prevention of deficiency states”.

So the RDI or (Recommended Dietary Intake) is derived from the EAR (Estimated Average Requirement) for each nutrient. Values are set for the EAR for people in different age or gender groups, as well as for pregnancy and lactation. Given the variation and absorption of metabolism of nutrients, even with an age and gender group, a second figure called an RDI was derived from the EAR, which would cover the needs of nearly all people in that group.   Hmm…..

Centrum Ingredients image

Back of Centrum Packet

Now the problem with the RDI of most nutrients is that they are very small. Remember as the information above stated “they have been set to offer healthy people with a guideline they can use, to know how many nutrients they need for the prevention of deficiency states”

This means that this is not necessarily covering our daily nutritional needs. It is just to prevent deficiencies in our body.

I know myself, that I want to do a lot more than just prevent deficiencies in my body when I’m taking a Multivitamin.  I want to take enough nutrients to top up any deficient levels, of any sort, in my body.  Believe me, in New Zealand we have a number of nutritional deficiencies in our soils, such as Zinc, Selenium and Boron, so nutritional supplements really do need to take these into consideration.  What about for those people who drink, smoke, take medication, &/or don’t eat 3 good meals a day.  Will taking a multi like Centrum be adequate for them?

We want to take a health supplement that’s going to not only give us a boost but also have extra anti-oxidants in it, to help to fight free-radical damage.

So enough about these RDA’s, RDI’s or NRV’s.

Centrum make another statement that I would like to bring to your attention. They make a comment about “Who is Centrum For?” and they make this statement “Centrum is suitable for men and women, aged under 50 years, who lead busy active lifestyles” Now again I have an issue about this because I really think that this statement is incorrect. My basis for this is on the amount of nutrients contained in one Centrum tablet. As I have just talked about how Centrum base the nutrient levels of their multi on an “RDI”.  An RDI gives you nutrient levels to meet the needs of practically all healthy people, for the prevention of deficiency states. So if you’ve got a busy active lifestyle surely you are going to need a lot more nutrients than to just prevent a deficiency!

I know myself, if I want to handle my busy active lifestyle, I struggle to get by with anything less then 25mgs of B Vitamins every single day. At the moment I’m taking something that provides me with a time release 125mgs. So lets do a comparison and have a look at Centrum.

The main Centrum product that they suggest for people under 50 lists on the back in the ingredients section that Each 1 Centrum tablet contains these following nutrients.  Now looking through them, I don’t know what 1.7mgs of a B vitamin is really going to do for anyone? I know for me personally, that there is no way that this would aid me, to boost my energy levels up. As I mentioned before, we have Zinc, Selenium and Boron deficient in our soils in New Zealand but no where on the Centrum packet can I see any mention of Boron.  Boron is important for absorbing other minerals, such as calcium, so why isn’t it contained in this product when it’s supposed to be complete from A – Zinc?

Sure it does have zinc and selenium in it but really they are not in very high amounts. As well as this the forms of nutrients that they have used are ok but are definitely not as absorbable as they could be. Centrum in short, could have chosen nutrients that were a lot more absorbable.

Now if I look at the Centrum packet for those aged 50 and over there is not a lot of difference between this and the one for 50 and under yet it’s supposed to help to meet the needs of those people over the age of 50. Some of the B Vitamins are slightly higher but not by a lot, for example there are 2.6mgs instead of the measly 1.7mg in the under 50 year old pack. I really don’t see what 2.6mgs of a B vitamin is really going to do?

If I look at the Children’s multi vitamin, again there are only very small amounts of nutrients for something like this.

As a comparison If I compare Xcel Health’s MultiVite it has taken into consideration New Zealand’s soil depletion here in New Zealand and each of these tablets has 25mgs of the main B Vitamins. It also includes Boron, 50mcg of Selenium and 10mgs of Zinc.  As New Zealander’s we all need to consider supplementing with these missing nutrients.

For your Children, I recommend they take what I consider to be the best multivitamin available. Clinicians Vitamin and Mineral Boost powder – produced here in Auckland.  This nutrient powder will help to provide your children with really good amounts of  the necessary nutrients needed to help to boost immunity and provide daily nutritional needs.  This product has also taken into consideration New Zealand’s soil depletion, which is very important of course for our children. Mums raves to me about the difference in their children’s immune systems while they are taking this product.

Centrum is a registered trademark of Pfizer New Zealand.

Please note that this blog post was written on May the 12th 2009, and the information was relevant as of this date. Formulations are always being updated, so please check the label.





26 responses to “Is Centrum A Good MultiVitamin Supplement?”

  1. Zoe says:

    Hi Leanne, Thanks for the information I have been taking Centrum for a long time thinking it was the best multivitamin. Im going to look for something else now that I know what to look for.

  2. Constance says:

    Well, what do you know! I have used Cenrum for some time, thinking I was doing my body a favour. Thanks for the article Leanne – I will search for another way of getting the vitamins and minerals.

  3. Ana-Maria Augustino says:

    Thanks Leanne for bringing this information to my attention. I really did believe the hype and unfortunately didn’t really look into whether the amounts were sufficient to replenish and support my health. I should know that if you don’t stock it then it probably isn’t good quality. Another learning curve… Ana

  4. Stephen Fry says:

    Thanks for making crystal clear the benefits of taking this particular multi-vitamin, I almost bought some.

  5. Danny Diaz says:

    First, I don’t know how credible this article is or wether or not the person who wrote it needs glasses, but Centrum contains 75 mcg of Boron, 11 mg of Zinc and 55 mcg of Selenium, so don’t go saying Centrum is missing what New Zealand is. Second, Centrum contains two types of vitamin B (B12 -6 mcg; B6 -2 mg) which is more than the 1.7 mg of vitamin B the article says Centrum only has. Third, Centrum has more Selenium (+5 mg), more Zinc (+1 mg) and it has Boron, but it has less Vitamin B than MultiVite, the suplement which Centrum is been compared too. Lastly, this article feels like someone in New Zealand ain’t happy with Centrum been sold in New Zealand because his or her product is not doing good. Overall Centrum is the superior and more complete suplement out there. Vitamin B is just an excuse to throw dirt on a product that has been out selling almost every other product on the market. If vitamin B is what you need then go drink or eat more fruits and stop depending on a pill to get all your vitamins.

    • cookie says:

      Yep agree and there is such think as getting to much vitamins and minerals centrum is to aid if your lacking surely u eat food?? Cant expect a pill to give u everything this article is not credible mentions nothing about an appropriate diet

  6. nightbreed says:

    i was taking centrum for years…yea it’s good for you…if your just looking to prevent scurvy….if your serious about a multivitamin go to a health food store and ask them…because centrum is outdated on what your body really needs…as are most Multivitamins you buy at your local drug store

  7. hicalcium says:

    Hello, I’ve already read this one. see sites with aol But well, thank you for sharing. i have bookmarked your site.

  8. Carroll Andujar says:

    I am grateful to you for this excellent content. You actually did make my day :

  9. Graveftw says:

    hey just wanted to say that centrum ultra mens has 150mcg of boron i dont know about the other ones its the only one i take

  10. Graveftw says:

    and the supplent fact sheet in the photo is the one on the outside of the box the label on the bottle has alot more info

  11. Nive says:

    Centrum is not bad, nor is it excellent, but does have what the majority of the population needs to maintain their health. The focus should be on where the supplement can ‘supplement’ the diet, because that is all the product is, a supplement. Given that a freshly picked orange contains more nutrients (more than 120 antioxidants have been identified) than centrum, people need to keep this in perspective. Regarding the quality of the minerals, surely the most absorbable form would be from plants? Also there is an assumption that all NZders need to supplement selenium due to deficiences in the soil, however NZ has LOW soil Se levels, not deficiencies, with the concentrations in soil content varying across the North and South Islands. Best bets for Se is of course 2 x brazil nuts a day, or the consumption of low fat animal products as many animals in NZ are drenched with Se enriched products.

  12. Marty says:

    Just wanted thank you for ur information just bought centrum for women I’m 45 and I decided to try this and I’m also taking prenatal vitamins( but I’m not pregnant ) just want that extra vitamins due to losing some of my hair and nail thinning. What do u think or writers if u have this problem as well write me pls could use some input. Thanks again!

  13. AcneMakeUp says:

    Thank you, this post helped me to understand many important things. Great !

  14. missclaritaxxx says:

    First of all, I just want people to realize that this article is from May, 12, 2009. It is extremely outdated and if anyone actually went to the Centrum website and searched for this product, they have a Product Labeling link you can click on which tells you what the tablet contains and the “% Daily Value.” So please keep that in mind with regards to accuracy of this particular article.

  15. Dineo says:

    Have been using centrum for the past 2 months, and im seeing a difference..its working for me so far

  16. DIana says:

    i dont know, but i been taking centrum since 4 years and it really helps my metabolism…. i guess it dont work on everybody bodies

  17. Jon says:

    “Supplement” doesn’t mean it can provide everything “meet the needs” in a single pill.
    If you think a single pill can give you everything you need and you can stop eating fresh fruits or green plants, you are doing it wrong.
    There are a lot of food sources that provide Vitamin B: Eggs, beef, berry, green vegi, oysters…etc.
    If you need a complete solution for all daily needs, get a nutritionist, go to bed early, start a healthy balanced diet and do exercise.
    Really, if you eat healthy enough you don’t need any pills. I take Centrum because I am not able to have planned my meals everyday, but I will still try to eat more fresh fruit when possible.

    • judy malone says:

      No pill (tab or liquid) can meet the exact needs of everyone. For me and I’m almost 64, the Centrum Liquid Multivitamin/mineral supplement seems to be the best for me. I take a dose each morning and I feel better physically. I’m sure that translates into making me want to do more as far as exercise and just regular things with family and grandchild. I live on a farm in TENN and do get my vegs and fruits, but a little extra boost helps.

  18. Saran says:

    Hi there!
    I am 19 years old can i take centrum for men under 50…
    Plz guide me with that i have purchased a 200 tablet bottle but haven’t tried yet.
    Should i use that or not??
    Will it be good for me??
    Is there any chances for any type of side effects if i use that?
    Please let me know about that because i have not consult any doctor yet…
    I would realy appriciate that.

  19. Skills says:

    I’m 38 , a few weeks ago I started taking centrum , since I started I feel more alive like not being lazy and sleepy all the time so I guess it helps if you don’t have a fixed diet like me sometimes I eat good like rice beans and vegetables and meat and some times I eat sandwiches and junk food , so taking this pill helps me on the days that I take in less natural supplements in.

  20. Justin says:

    It doesn’t matter what the label says. Centrum, like all mass market vitamins are synthetically manufactured. This means that your body is unlikely to absorb much more than a third of what is stated on the label. You want a vitamin that will do you some good then you need one that is made from plant sources. They are not cheap but in my (very well researched) opinion, you are wasting time with synthetic supplementation.

  21. jackson says:

    I have taken centrum for one year now. Since starting on centrum i noticed an increase in my energy throughout the day and a huge decrease in the time i spend fighting a cold. I have got sick once this whole year compared to the normal 4-5 times per year. Seems worth it to me

  22. Kiet says:

    Since I started taking centrum multivitamin multi minerals two years ago , I’ve not visited clinic . Worked much better than Chinese herbs.

  23. Deep says:

    Even I have heard it is having more proportion than average required quantity of nutrients.

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