Following a fairly recent National Institutes of Health
conference, Dr. Walter Willett and Dr. Meir Stampfer, two
prominent physician researchers from Harvard Medical School,
joined forces with Dr. Bruce Ames, professor of biochemistry
and molecular biology at the University of California,
Berkeley, and Dr. Joyce McCann, staff scientist at the
Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, to issue the
following statement in regard to their recommendations for
supplementing with a multivitamin.
“Of course everyone
would agree that all persons should be encouraged to eat a
good diet, but we are far from achieving this goal, especially
among the poor. In most cases, a simple way to improve
micronutrient status is to take a multivitamin/mineral.”
In fact, taking MORE than just a multivitamin/multimineral
may be in order.
In a first-of-its-kind Landmark Study published in
Nutrition Journal, long-term multi-supplement users were
more likely to have optimal concentrations of several key
biomarkers of health and a lower risk of developing a number
of health conditions compared to non-supplement users or those
who took only a single multivitamin daily2.
are just a few of the positive health benefits seen among
long-term multi-supplement users:
- 33% lower triglyceride levels
- 59% lower C-reactive protein levels
- 11% lower ratio of total cholesterol to LDL cholesterol
- 36% lower homocysteine levels
- 39% less likely to have elevated blood pressure
- 73% less likely to have diabetes
When asked about what supplements they took, 87% of
subjects reported taking 20 or more different supplements
daily for at least 20 years, including a comprehensive
multivitamin/ multimineral, additional B vitamins and vitamin
C, carotenoids, vitamin D, calcium, probiotics, and omega-3
fatty acids. Although this study was cross sectional in its
design (showing only an association between supplement use and
health outcomes), the results were nonetheless impressive.
More research to confirm these findings in other groups of
long-term supplement users is sure to come and will only help
to strengthen the evidence that taking more than just your
daily multivitamin makes the most sense when attempting to
optimize your health.
1Ames, B.N., McCann, J.C., Stampfer, M.J., Willett,
W.C. Evidence-based decision making on micronutrients and
chronic disease: long-term randomized controlled trials are
not enough. [Letter to the Editor]. Am J Clin Nutr
2Block, G.M., Jensen, CD., Norkus, EB., et al.
Usage patterns, health and nutritional status of long-term
multiple dietary supplement users: a cross-sectional study.
Nutrition J, 2007;(6) 30:1-11.