Wellness Database: Multivitamins
Multivitamins are a common way for people to get a variety of nutrients in their regular diet. Multivitamins may pevent cancer and reduce the risk of obesity.
Multivitamins Improve Cognitive Ability and Memory
Summary: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials discovered that multivitamins can be used efficaciously to improve cognitive abilities. Meta-analysis was conducted on randomized, placebo-controlled trials (n=10/ n = 3,200) which reported on the chronic effects (>=1 month) of oral multivitamin supplementation on any valid cognitive outcomes. Survey indicated that multivitamins were effective in improving immediate free recall memory, but not delayed free recall memory or verbal fluency. Multivitamins were found to potentially enhance immediate free recall memory but no other cognitive domains.
Multi-Nutrient Supplement Helps Maintain Physical Health and Active Lifestyle
Summary: Researchers found that a multi-nutrient supplement offered benefits to recovery, anti-inflammation and physical performance in middle aged men and women. In a study comprised of 31 active men and women with an average age of 54, volunteers were randomized to take either the multi-nutrient supplement or a placebo for a 28 day cycle, followed by 1 week of no intervention, and then another cycle of 28 days on the other regime. The supplement contained vitamin B5 (20mg), B6 (6mg), folic acid (.4mg), B12 (.25mg), taurine (500mg), 1-leucine (2,000mg), isoleucine (500mg), valine (500mg), Cat's Claw (uncaria tomentosa, 100mg), quercetin (100mg), green tea (50mg), and Biovin full spectrum whole grape extract (25mg). The researchers found improved inflammatory status, and increased energy levels in both men and women. Benefits to joint pain, strength, and power were had by men but not women (on average), while women, but not men, experienced improvements in both anxiety levels and balance. This study suggests that a multi-nutrient supplement may help middle-aged individuals maintain physical health and an active lifestyle.
Reference: "A Multi-nutrient supplement reduced markers of inflammation and improved physical performance in active individuals of middle to older age: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study," Dunn-Lewis C, Kraemer WJ, et al, Nutrition Journal, 2011 Sep 7, (DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-10-90)
Dr. Andrew Myers: Healthy Vision
Our eyes are incredible organs that provide us detailed information about the world around us. For anyone, the loss of vision can be a crippling concern.
When we think about vision loss, the most common cause is known as macular degeneration. The macula is the area of the eye where images are focused. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe visual loss in the United States in persons fifty-five years or older. Nearly 150,000 Americans are legally blind from age-related macular degeneration with 20,000 new cases occurring each year.
The most common risk factors for macular degeneration are aging, smoking, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and high blood pressure. All of these risk factors are believed to contribute to decreased blood and oxygen supply to the eye (specifically the retina) which leads to increased damage to the macula. The degeneration of the macula is the result of free radical damage, similar to the damage that occurs in the formation of cataracts.
As with many health concerns that progress as we age, macular degeneration can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because exposure to free radicals is a major factor in macular degeneration, avoiding or quitting smoking is of the utmost importance. High blood pressure and the progression of heart disease is also a major risk factor, so practicing heart healthy habits is critical.
Here are some simple tips to maintaining healthy vision:
- Get regular eye exams. Per recommendations from the American Optometric Association, if you have no risk factors for vision loss, schedule eye exams every two to three years until age 40, every two years between ages 40 and 60, and annually after age 60. If you have diabetes, family history of eye problems, or are African-American, you may need more frequent vision exams. People of African-American descent are at greater risk for glaucoma.
- Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Worn consistently, these sunglasses can block ultraviolet and other rays that contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. Sunglasses are especially important when near snow or water, which intensify the sun’s harmful rays.
- Eat healthy food. Snack on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins that can prevent eye disease. Green leafy veggies such as kale, collard and mustard greens and spinach contain lutein and carotenes, which help to protect from macular degeneration. Fresh blueberries are a rich source of proanthocyanadins, an antioxidant pigment that is protective to the macula.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, try to quit. Smoking can injure the eyes in many ways, increasing the risk of optic nerve damage, cataracts, macular degeneration and other disorders.
- Give your eyes a break. Any activity that requires your eyes to focus for a long time can keep you from blinking enough. Prevent eye strain on the road by stopping and resting your eyes or giving them a drink of artificial tears if they are fatigued or irritated. Make sure to drink plenty of water – dehydration has a significant effect on your eyes.
- Keep fit. Maintaining a healthy body contributes to eye health. Regular exercise increases circulation and lowers blood pressure, which can decrease the risk of eye diseases. Seeing your primary care physician yearly can help rule out systemic problems such as heart disease and diabetes, both of which affect the eyes.
- Supplement your diet. Adding a daily multivitamin in addition to a lutein supplement can provide additional nutritional resources for promoting eye health. A number of very good research studies have demonstrated the importance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients, like lutein in protecting and enhancing vision.
Folate May Lower Risk of Colorectal Cancer
In a prospective study involving data collected from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (which included 2,299 incident colorectal cancers and 5.655 colorectal adenomas, from 1980 to 2004), total folate intake 12-16 years prior to diagnosis was found to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer (RR=0.69), while more recent folate intake was not found to be associated, and both long-term and short-term intakes of total folate were associated with a lower risk of colorectal adenoma, particularly 4-8 years before diagnosis (OR=0.68). In addition, supplementation with multivitamins for over 15 years was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and supplementation for a shorter duration was associated with a reduction in risk of colorectal adenoma. The authors conclude, "Folate intake is inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer only during early preadenoma stages."
Reference: "Folate intake and risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma: modification by time," Lee JE, Willett WC, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2011 April; 93(4): 817-25. (Address: Department of Food and Nutrition, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, Republic of Korea and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA).
Vitamins Critical To Health In Elderly
Summary: In a longitudinal study involving 78 (44 female, 34 male) free-living, elderly subjects between the ages of 70 and 75 years at baseline, after assessing intake of vitamins, the authors concluded that, "Multivitamin supplementation may be necessary, even in healthy individuals, to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake in the elderly." Data was collected at baseline and after 10 years. At baseline, intake of all vitamins except vitamin B1 were sufficient and exceeded the lowest European RDI. However, 10 years later, the prevalence of vitamin B2 and vitamin A deficiencies rose to 50% and vitamin C deficiency rose from 3% to 6% in men and 2.3% to 4.5% in women. The authors conclude, "...a considerable proportion of our successfully aging elderly were already deficient in, or at high risk of becoming deficient in several essential vitamins. Multivitamin supplementation may be necessary, even in healthy individuals, to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake in the elderly."
Nutritional Supplements Improve Quality of Life
This study out of Germany, published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that using nutritional supplements is significantly more effective than simply relying on dietary counseling for malnourished individuals.
In a randomized, controlled study involving 114 malnourished patients (50.6 years of age) with benign gastrointestinal disease, oral nutritional supplementation (ONS) for a period of 3 months along with dietary counseling was found to improve quality of life (assessed via the SF-36) significantly more than dietary counseling alone. Moreover, this intervention was found to be associated with higher costs, however, it was deemed cost-effective, according to international benchmarks. The authors conclude, "A 3-month intervention with ONS increases quality of life in malnourished patients."
Reference: "Cost-effectiveness of a 3-month intervention with oral nutritional supplements in disease-related malnutrition: a randomised controlled pilot study," Norman K, Pirlich M, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2011 March 16; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Charite-University Medicine, Berlin, Germany).
Over Half of US Adults Take Vitamins Daily
New research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that over half of US adults take a nutritional supplement every single day. Older populations are more likely to be regular consumers with 70% of adults over the age 70 reporting at least one daily supplement.
Dietary supplement use has steadily increased over time since the 1970s; however, no current data exist for the U.S. population. Therefore, the purpose of this analysis was to estimate dietary supplement use using the NHANES 2003–2006, a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey. Dietary supplement use was analyzed for the U.S. population (≥1 y of age) by the DRI age groupings. Supplement use was measured through a questionnaire and was reported by 49% of the U.S. population (44% of males, 53% of females). Multivitamin-multimineral use was the most frequently reported dietary supplement (33%). The majority of people reported taking only 1 dietary supplement and did so on a daily basis. Dietary supplement use was lowest in obese adults and highest among non-Hispanic whites, older adults, and those with more than a high-school education. Between 28 and 30% reported using dietary supplements containing vitamins B-6, B-12, C, A, and E; 18–19% reported using iron, selenium, and chromium; and 26–27% reported using zinc- and magnesium-containing supplements. Botanical supplement use was more common in older than in younger age groups and was lowest in those aged 1–13 y but was reported by ~20% of adults. About one-half of the U.S. population and 70% of adults ≥ 71 y use dietary supplements; one-third use multivitamin-multimineral dietary supplements. Given the widespread use of supplements, data should be included with nutrient intakes from foods to correctly determine total nutrient exposure.
See the report here: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/141/2/261.abstract
Multivitamins May Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence
Nutrients are important not only to prevent illness from occuring but also to prevent illness from recurring. This very insightful article demonstrates just how helpful vitamin supplements can be in preventing cancer.
Women with breast cancer who take multivitamins with minerals appear to face lower odds of having their cancer come back or dying.
"Multivitamins appears to especially benefit women undergoing radiation treatment," says researcher Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, of Columbia University's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York City.
- Compared with women who never took multivitamins with minerals, women who took them anytime after diagnosis were 29% less likely to have a recurrence and 22% less likely to die from breast cancer.
- Women who took multivitamins with minerals before diagnosis and at least three times a week for a year or more after diagnosis were 31% less likely to relapse and 27% less likely to die from breast cancer, compared with those who never took them.
- When the results were stratified by treatment type, women who underwent radiation treatment benefited the most.
Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements Benefit Obese Individuals
In a 26-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, intervention study involving 96 obese women (BMI: 28 kg/m(2)) between the ages of 18 and 55 years, supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral supplement was found to reduce body weight, body mass index, fat mass, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol, increase resting energy expenditure and HDL-cholesterol, and borderline significantly reduce respiratory quotient, as compared to placebo. Subjects who received supplementation with 162 mg/d calcium alone were found to have reductions in LDL and increases in HDL cholesterol. The authors conclude, "...in obese individuals, multivitamin and mineral supplementation could reduce BW and fatness and improve serum lipid profiles, possibly through increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation."
"Effects of multivitamin and mineral supplementation on adiposity, energy expenditure and lipid profiles in obese Chinese women," Li Y, Wang C, et al, Int J Obes (Lond), 2010 Feb 9.
Multivitamin Supplementation in Women
Long-term Multivitamin Supplementation May Reduce Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Women
Summary: In a prospective, population-based study involving data collected from 31,671 women with no history of cardiovascular disease and 2,262 women with a history of CVD, between the ages of 49 and 83 years, use of multivitamins was found to be associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio=0.73), and furthermore, using multivitamins for at least 5 years was found to be associated with an HR of 0.59, among women free from CVD. The authors conclude, "The use of multivitamins was inversely associated with MI, especially long-term use among women with no CVD."
Reference: "Multivitamin use and the risk of myocardial infarction: a population-based cohort of Swedish women," Rautiainen S, Akesson A, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 Sept 22; [Epub ahead of print].
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Nutrients and Diet
Alpha Lipoic Acid Amino Acids Antioxidants Arginine Calcium Carnitine Carotene Chromium Picolinate Citrulline Coenzyme Q10 DHEA Fat Fiber Fruit and Vegetables Garlic Ginkgo Biloba Glucosamine Vegetarian Diet Green Tea Iron Lutein Lycopene Magnesium Mediterranean Diet Multivitamins Nitric Oxide Nuts Olives Omega 3 Fatty Acids Policosanols Polyphenols Pomegranate Probiotics Pycnogenol Red Yeast Rice Salt Saffron Selenium Soy Theanine Vitamin A Vitamin B Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K White Tea Zinc