What Are the Most Dangerous Ingredients Found in Common Multivitamin Brands?

Have you ever wondered how safe the popular supplements you see on your grocery store shelves are? Have you read articles questioning the safety and value of these top brands?

Ideally, we would get all the nutrients we need from food alone. However, in today’s day and age, this is just not realistic. Due to common factors like nutrient depletion of soil, industrial food production practices, pesticides, genetically modified foods, and environmental toxins, it is virtually impossible to get adequate nutrition from food alone.

Our solution to this is to take supplements to ensure we’re getting optimal levels of micronutrients.  These days, doctors are also handing out vitamin sample packets like candy (more on this later in the article).

The question remains: what are the dangerous ingredients lurking in our everyday supplements such as the multivitamin?

These harmful ingredients are also likely the cause of the controversial studies questioning the health benefits of multivitamins in the first place.

Below are the top 5 most dangerous ingredients found in your daily multivitamin brands.

If you have found these ingredients in the products you buy, then stop buying them!

Instead, search out high-quality natural supplements from companies you actually trust that fill your body only with the good stuff.

Top 5 most dangerous ingredients found in your average multivitamin brands:

1. Artificial colors

Take a look at most traditional vitamin brand labels and you will see any of the following synthetic dyes listed and approved by the FDA.

  • FD&C Blue No. 1
  • FD&C Blue No. 2
  • FD&C Green No. 3
  • FD&C Red No. 3
  • FD&C Red No. 40
  • FD&C Yellow No. 5
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6

The question you should be asking yourself is, “Do I really want artificial colors in the multivitamin I’m taking to get healthy?”

The answer should be no.

These synthetic dyes have been linked to dangerous health consequences, especially for children. The three most commonly used dyes- Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6 and Red No. 40- contain compounds like benzidine that have been linked to an increased risk for cancers such as bladder and pancreatic cancers.

An article published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health stated that all of the current US-approved artificial colors pose health risks to some degree with the majority being listed as carcinogenic dyes1. Additionally, at least four of the dyes produce hypersensitivity reactions1. The article goes on to further conclude that there is no adequate level of safety testing that occurs with the use of any of these dyes1.

If you have a common multivitamin like Centrum or a children’s Flinstone’s multivitamin, throw them out now.

The worse part about all of these artificial additives is that they do not even improve the safety or nutritional quality of foods. They are just a cover up for the big food companies. 

2. Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is found in many of your cosmetics, sunscreens and even deodorants. Titanium dioxide is also found in your average multivitamin. It is used as a colorant and is considered a toxic additive. This compound is found in many common multivitamin brands such as Centrum Silver.

This common additive is linked to a number of health risks. It has been suggested to be a carcinogen. There haven’t been enough studies done to show the toxicity level of it in humans, however, animal studies on the inhalation of titanium dioxide have linked it to cancer formation.

Additionally, based on the rodent studies showing a link between titanium dioxide exposure and cancer, several studies have concluded that it is “potentially carcinogenic” to humans2. 

3. Polyvinyl Alcohol

Polyvinyl alcohols are a group of synthetic polymers used in a wide variety of industrial, medical and food applications. The CDC warns of contact with these types of compounds on their website stating a need to “avoid contact with polyvinyl alcohol” and to “wear gloves, wear safety goggles and don’t ingest it”3.

It is thought that this additive does have potential carcinogenic effects. Animal studies have concluded that it is tumorigenic and can increase cancer risk. It can cause skin, eye and digestive tract irritation. It has been linked to affecting behavior and the central nervous system including symptoms such as depressed activity and muscle weakness4.

Additionally, it can have effects on the blood and overall metabolism. It may also contribute to respiratory tract irritation.

This is alarming as this ingredient is found in common multivitamin brands such as Centrum.

4. BHT

This lab-made chemical is a preservative and it is also a carcinogen. It is found in typical products like Centrum Silver. Pick up just about any processed food product such as chips or common vegetable oils and you’ll likely see either BHT or BHA listed. The main function is usually to preserve food products and prevent oils from becoming oxidized and rancid.

There is currently ongoing controversy in the research world as to the safety of BHT. The FDA, of course, lists it as GRAS (or “gradually recognized as safe”). The National Toxicity Program, however, has found BHT to be unsafe citing its ability in animal studies to increase cancer risk. Likely for this reason, both U.S. and European regulations only allow for very small amounts of this chemical additive to be used in food processing. BHT is also added to embalming fuel and in the petroleum industry.

You can also find it in your grocery store’s popular multivitamins.

5. Talc

Talc is a mineral ingredient commonly found in cosmetics. It is used as a cheap filler and anti-caking agent. Talc is also used in supplements to prevent them from sticking to the machinery when the tablets are being formed.

The safety of talc has long been questioned as to whether it contains harmful contaminants such as asbestos. Both talc and asbestos are similarly found next to each other in the earth’s crust.

Talc has been found to cause lung problems upon inhalation. Again, during the processing of it, talc can become contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. On the FDA website, they even talk about the need to prevent contamination of talc with asbestos when processing it during mining5. They go on to say that the safety of talc has been questioned since the early 1970s.

Studies in the 1960s found a link between talc and ovarian cancer. That’s also what many of the recent lawsuits with Johnson and Johnson’s talc based baby powder and occurrence of ovarian cancer were about.

Common sense would mean that if topical use of talc can cause cancer, then the talc that is found in your ingestible supplements will too.

Interestingly, the FDA doesn’t even regulate the type of talc that is to be used in supplements. Additionally, in order for talc to have no detectable levels of asbestos then it must be listed as “talc USP” but most popular multivitamins do not list their talc as “USP” grade. That is just some food for thought. 

The Solution:

Interestingly, the multivitamin brands you find these harmful, artificial ingredients and fillers in are also the brands that are packaged and sold under Big Pharma companies. For example, Pfizer owns Centrum. This is why doctors are now passing out sample packets of cheap vitamins at patients. It makes them more money.

Do you think these companies care about the health and quality of multivitamins they are selling to you? The answer is no. Do you think they are trying to improve your health and prevent disease with natural, high quality nutrients that are easily absorbed in your body? Again, the answer is no.

Find a company you trust (like the Drs. Wolfson) and get a natural multivitamin with absolutely no fillers, artificial ingredients or preservatives. This is the way to get healthy!


  1. Kobylewski et al., 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23026007
  2. Baan, 2006: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08958370701497903
  3. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng1489.html
  4. Science Lab: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927396
  5. FDA: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm293184.htm

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