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June 10, 1961


JAMA. 1961;176(10):868-869. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040230034010

This morning while walking to my medical student lecture on vitamins, I passed a store window full of vitamin preparations. These included "natural vitamin B complex tablets," "super-natural high potency natural vitamins," vitamin A with 50,000 U. S. P. units per capsule, vitamin E capsules with 100 international units, and "natural" vitamin A and D capsules, among others. What should I advise students about preparations like these, some of which might produce toxicity if long continued, about vitamin preparations also containing various unnecessary minerals, about prophylactic and supplemental multivitamin mixtures? I decided that they should be offered the known facts, be given my reasoned (I hope) opinion, and left to think for themselves.

The facts are that many vitamins are known to be required by man, that some in large doses may be toxic, that most have intracellular metabolic activities as coenzymes and that normal individuals eating a variety of