Multivitamins: Size Matters

No matter the view the men's vitamins box is smaller and lighter in weight. It makes me believe the actual vitamin is also significantly smaller.

Most multivitamins I’ve purchased (and attempted to swallow) over the past few years are super big; it’s the single major reason I stop taking them: Day after day I struggle to swallow the darned things. I gag. I choke. I get cranky. Then I stop taking them because I’m afraid I’m going to choke to death, alone in the privacy of my own home. What a way to go. Ugh!

Have you noticed how multivitamins have grown – significantly – in size over the past decade or so? We went from small, round One-a-Days to multivitamins large enough to choke a horse. Why? Can anyone tell me why?

My internist recently suggested that I start taking a multivitamin, specifically Centrum Silver for Women. I remembered my swallowing issue as I walked down the vitamin aisle at my local CVS Pharmacy. No problem, I thought. I’ll just look for an illustration on the box to make sure it’s a size I can swallow. Over the past few years some manufacturers have put illustrations of “actual” pill size on boxes. Of course, Centrum didn’t have any illustration.

Resigned, I picked up the box and turned to leave, but then I noticed the Centrum Silver for Men sitting right next to the women’s box. Guess what? The men’s vitamins, 100 in a bottle just like the women’s, were packaged in a smaller box! When I held a box in each hand, the women’s box was significantly heavier. Larger and heavier. Why? Can anyone tell me why men get a smaller, lighter multivitamin?

Women are expected to be able to swallow multivitamins that are larger than those for men! Hello. We have smaller throats, don't we?

By now I was muttering and mumbling loud enough that a CVS employee who was restocking a nearby shelf heard me.

“Can I help you,” he asked.

“Do you know why the Centrum Silver women’s vitamins come in a significantly larger and heavier box than that for the men? It doesn’t seem fair. And I’m concerned that the women’s multivitamins are too huge for me to swallow,” I said, showing him the two boxes.

He walked over. ” You’re right, the women’s box definitely looks large and heavier. Maybe Centrum figures women are tougher than men. Maybe Centrum figures if women can give birth they can also swallow pills that would choke most men.”

And that, my friends, is as likely an explanation as any.

Why can't manufacturers make a multivitamin that is easier to swallow?

Centrum? Centrum, are you listening? Your women’s multivitamin — at 1” in length, never mind its girth — are just too large to swallow comfortably. What can you do about it?

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5 Responses to Multivitamins: Size Matters

  1. Dear God! That pill is the size of an overdue baby. It’s a horse pill for goodness sakes. My mom just told me she threw out a bottle of vitamins for the same reason. I’d rather take two smaller pills than one giant one. Maybe Centrum can just split the dose. You should email them a link to this blog post. Definitely.

    Thanks for the Target advice. I’ll be sure to look there. I love an excuse to go to Target anyway. 🙂
    ~FringeGirl

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  4. Ellen Ward says:

    My husband was so excited to bring home Centrum vitamins for us and guess what? No way am l going to swallow this. Some women can and larger ones also but PLEASE for the sake of us who are terrified of large pills,please rethink a different ,smaller dose. I have to take children’s amoxicillin because l cannot swallow adult pills.

    • Ellen,
      I too have difficulty swallowing large vitamins. I have pretty much switched to “gummies” for my multivitamin and CoQ10. And I take a “half the size” fish oil that CVS sells. My greatest fear (other than drowning) is choking to death!
      Have you considered gummies?
      Regards,
      Darlene

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