Vitamin and Mineral supplements

With the covid pandemic I have recently done some research on natural ways to improve my immune system.
I use a multi vitamin supplement Cenovis multi vitamin for 50 plus plus Vit C and Vit D. I have recently experienced peripheral neuropathy and decided to check my supplements. The Cenovix bottle says it contains 50 micrograms of vitamin B12. I have had a look at two sources of the RDI for B12 and it says 1.5 to 2.5 micrograms per day. if that is correct then the one I have just stopped taking had 20 times the RDI.
Is there any monitoring of non-prescription supplements?

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The Therapeutic Goods Administration regulates vitamins. This will give you a start.

How are vitamins regulated in Australia?

I would not assume that you are taking a harmful amount of vitamin B12, some are safe at many times RDI. Have you seen your doctor about your neuropathy?


Hi @Middly1, welcome to the community.

They are by the TGA under the Complementary Medicines (Supplement) Regulation. The Complementary medicines supplement regulation was recently discussed here:

The problem with many complementary medicines, which includes vitamin supplements, is they

  • can be bought (uncontrolled/unsupervised) over the counter with no medical advice or supervision;
  • are often assumed by consumers that they are safe to take above and beyond what is eaten in a normal diet; and
  • taking them may give some sort of benefit not achieved through a balanced diet. A balanced diet being one which would normally provide adequate nutrition for the bodies biochemical function.

It appears you have experienced first hand that self prescription/medication using complementary medicines has significant risks. I agree with @syncretic that you should seek medical attention in relation to your peripheral neuropathy.


Vitamin D seems to be the “flavour of the month” on Facebook, as so many friends are now encouraging us to take mega doses to stave off dementia, cure diabetes, improve COVID immunity, reverse osteoarthritis, increase vitality etc, etc. The ABC news did an article on the dangers of self (over) medicating with Vitamin D


Our local chemist was taken over by Terry White. The previous independent is looking forward to retirement. The new business takes every prescription to be an opportunity to push supplements. Leave a script and on returning to pick it up there will be a laminated card for the sales assistant. A reminder with the medication about supporting the medication with XYZ supplement.

In the last instance, Magnesium. Apparently many Australians don’t get enough and being older puts us at risk. The short reply was a no thank you. Aside from leaving that discussion for my GP, there is at least one medication where a supplement of Magnesium may conflict. Magnesium obtained through a healthy balanced diet is no concern.

The selling point that because some of us are at risk, we are all at risk is a slippery slope.

There are health issues that we all need to be aware of and in specific instances a supplement may be recommended. There seems little value without a reliable diagnosis, except to the pharmacy and supplements industry. I’m now very concerned ignoring the pharmacy suggestion is about to cause me irreparable harm. I’ll try and put that fear aside until my next blood test and follow up. It’s not just a slippery slope. It’s an unacceptable selling practice.

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There’s huge money in supplements and vitamins at both manufacturer and retail levels. Unless you are deficient, which would be better remedied by diet in most cases, it all ends up in the sewer.

The whole multivitamin game is based on the fallacy of; if some is good more is better.


There are still some Pharmacies that care … I walked into an independent one in the next biggest town to buy a large tub (100 to 500 capsules) and the first question they asked was “How do you know you are deficient?” When I said, GP on blood test result, they happily sold them. They were being kept behind the counter.

Our tiny (4 mornings a week) pharmacy, stocks a very small range of supplements; I guess about 30 bottles in total. The pharmacist is on the counter. I showed him a Joint Formula powder that I had bought from a large chain store on recommendation from a friend (the assistant was only concerned with helping me find it on the shelf, the pharmacists are in a back room).

He, knowing what Mr Z was on, told me it was too high in potassium which would interfere with his existing prescription medication. He always thanks me for shopping there, but apart from prescriptions, bandages and a few toiletries, there’s not much else to make this ethical business profitable. He has to compete with the bigger towns with “half price prescriptions” discounts & loyalty cards. I often hear him patiently explaining things to people who have come in for something recommended on Facebook. Any new prescription he takes the time to go through the literature and check that you know how it works, side affects, any clashes with herbals, supplements and other medication. He drives an hour to service another small town in the afternoons. These guys are getting rarer.


Australia not so bad. US totally uncontrolled. If you’re talking about diabetic neuropathy, look into Alpha Lipoic Acid which is considered a safe and tolerable treatment option that can result in neuropathic symptom reduction. The best 400mg we’ve found is Bioceuticals Lipoec.

Never just take supplements without doing your own research. Dr Google wants to see the words “evidence” and “risks” in the query. One reliable, free and confidential way I get individual advice from Australia is to ask Gerald Quigley - community pharmacist and master herbalist - on the House of Wellness site - Ask Gerald tab at The House of Wellness | Ask Gerald Quigley .

My podiatrist wont recommend any of those sorts of things, but I might hav a chat on the diabetes forum I inhabit at times to see if anyone else is using it. Podiatrist said a big YES when I asked him about the Revitive product. I have one, purchased years ago at half price and havent used it for ages. Time I did.

The only supplements I take are magnesium (the Cenovis product) and Ostelin 1000u/s daily because I’ve had low Vitamin D for decades. I also have low iron to the point where I require infusions about annually, because I cant take oral without it having an unfortunate effect on my Gastro-intestinal tract.

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SueW I almost started iron infusions because of similar GI reaction to Maltofer iron supplement. Instead I am now taking Ferrograd C, a different form of iron combined with Vitamin C. No problems at all now but I am following the instructions to the letter to maximise the iron absorption. This means I have breakfast, then hydrate a lot for 2 hrs (not coffee), then take the Ferrograd C, then wait 2 hrs before eating again or having coffee. The Vitamin C in the product is required to absorb Iron.

How effective do you find the infusions for your iron stores? I didn’t realise they are only annual.

If interested in reliable evidence-based information on ALA read this - Alpha-lipoic acid Information | Mount Sinai - New York .

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Are you being treated by a doctor for diabetic peripheral neuropathy? What does he/she say about lipoic acid as a treatment?

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Both Endocrinologist and GP are aware and satisfied. Medication Review by pharmacist referred by GP was satisfied. Diabetes Educator satisfied. Exercise Physiologist recommended. Podiatrist happy.

I have learnt a great deal by necessity from my medical team since I was diagnosed in 1997. Interested to know what your experience of/interest in T2 diabetes is syncretic?

I have a mild case that is well controlled and no neuropathies.

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Infusions are for when you need them, annual r otherwise. I dn’t know how effective they really are, i just know that when my stores are depleting I cant stay awake, I get breathless with the slightest exertion, etc. And yes, I have heart failure too, so it a bit of guesswork too work out which is causing what, at the time… I was on Ferrograd+C prior to Maltofer (which doc says is better tolerated…not by me though) and prior to all of them, I was on ferrotab. Had the big D with all of them.

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