Northern Virginia Community College Vitamin Mineral Supplement Comparison Worksheet

To compare the amount of vitamins and minerals in a supplement to your own personal DRI/RDA recommendations. Based on a 2011 study at Univ of California, Berkeley, more than 50% of us take at least one vitamin or mineral supplement each day. Of those taking a supplement, 82% take a multivitamin/mineral supplement to the tune of over $25 billion dollars a year.  Another study reveals there is no association between multivitamin use and the reduced risk of mortality, any type of cancer or almost any type of cardiovascular disease. In other words, many of the supplements we take are not supporting heath yet we still take them. This activity will help you evaluate a good vs.. potentially dangerous supplement. We recommend no more that 100% of your DRI should be taken in any supplement unless for clinical therapy. Here you will compare a supplement with your own personal DRIs to assess its benefit. 


  1. Select a supplement you are currently taking or look at a label in the grocery store. Your supplement MUST contain 8 or more vitamins and/or minerals.
  2. Complete the Vitamin/Mineral Comparison worksheet. Record the nutrient profile of the supplement and then compare the nutrient levels with your personal DRIs. The charts in the front cover of your text will provide all your DRIs.
  3. Also, for many supplements you will need to convert IU to mg or ug (mcg) in order to compare them. To help you with the calculations use these conversions:

    Vitamin A: 1 IU = 0.3 mcg (10,000 IU X 0.3 = 3000 mcg or 3000 RAE
    Vitamin D: 1 IU = 0.025 mcg (400 IU X 0.025 = 10 mcg)
    Vitamin E: 1 IU = 0.67 mg eg. 30 IU x 0.67 = 20 mg (natural vitamin E)
                      1 IU = 0.45 mg 30 IU x 0.45 = 13.5 mg (synthetic vitamin E

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