Taking a multivitamin with copper is generally not recommended because too much copper in the body can hinder your body’s ability to destroy the proteins that form the plaques found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Many Alzheimer’s patients have been found to have elevated levels of copper, and in studies, it was determined that many of those affected took multivitamins with copper. Additionally, pregnant woman should avoid copper in multivitamins because copper levels can nearly double during pregnancy making toxicity a concern. Cramps, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and liver damage are all common when taking supplements that include copper.

Iron is a vital mineral your body needs to function normally. However, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, has indicated that too much iron can cause serious health complications. Because of this, you may want to take an iron-free multivitamin to avoid iron overload, a medical condition that causes excess iron to be stored in vital organs such as the liver and heart. Too much iron may be toxic—and even fatal. In general, iron supplementation is not recommended for adult males and postmenopausal women. If you are a pre-menopausal woman, an athlete that works out for more than 6 hours a week, or a strict vegan/vegetarian you may want to consider iron supplementation. However, you should know that iron competes with ten (10) other micronutrients – making multivitamins formulated with iron highly susceptible to poor absorption rates. If you choose to use an iron supplement, you should take it at a separate time from your daily multivitamin.

Additionally, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) published a statement calling for the FDA to require multivitamin manufacturers to reformulate many of the most trusted multivitamins on the market without copper or iron. Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee, stated in his letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. “Given that nearly half of Americans develop Alzheimer’s disease by age 85, we need to urge consumers to err on the side of caution…Research on the links between metals and brain damage is ongoing. Even so, the evidence that excess iron and copper contribute to brain deterioration has reached the point where we have to take it seriously.”