A multi-vitamin with mineral supplements can improve immune function, making illnesses less severe and easing symptoms, especially in those who are 55 or older.
Taking a daily multi-vitamin and minerals supplement high in vitamin C for three months will lower the odds of catching a cold, respiratory infection, and pneumonia and also will reduce the length of illness and symptoms.
Micronutrients such as Vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are particularly essential for the immune system to function properly.
Scientist at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute enrolled a group of healthy adults aged 55 and older to assess the effects of vitamin and mineral supplements on immune function.
For 12 weeks, the multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (MVM) group received a daily formulated MVM supplement (Redoxon® VI, Singapore) while the other group was on placebo supplementation.
The group who were on the MVM Redoxon supplement exhibited improved immune function and nearly a 70 percent reduction in the number of days sick.
In other words, the length of illness on average reduced from more than six days in the placebo group to less than three days in the MVM Redoxon group.
Moreover, the severity of illness among those in the placebo group was four times higher than those on the MVM supplement.
Professor Adrian Gombart, study co-author, said:
“The observed illness differences were striking.
While the study was limited to self-reported illness data and we did not design the study to answer this question, the observed differences suggest that additional larger studies designed for these outcomes are warranted — and, frankly, overdue.”
MVM Redoxon contains 700 mcg vitamin A, 45 mg vitamin E, 6.6 mg vitamin B6, 400 mcg folate, 9.6 mcg vitamin B12, 1,000 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin D, 5 mg iron, 110 mg selenium, 0.9 mg copper, and 10 mg zinc.
Professor Gombart said:
“Supplementation was associated with significantly increased circulating levels of zinc and vitamin C, and with illness symptoms that were less severe and shorter lasting.
This supports findings that stretch back decades, even to the days of Linus Pauling’s work with vitamin C.
Our results suggest more and better designed research studies are needed to explore the positive role multivitamin and mineral supplementation might play in bolstering the immune system of older adults.”
Vitamin and mineral deficiency is more common as we get older and so this will lead to age-related immune system dysfunction.
Over one-third of older adults in Europe, the United States, and Canada are lacking one or more micronutrient.
Professor Gombart said:
“That likely contributes to a decline in the immune system, most often characterized by increased levels of inflammation, reduced innate immune function and reduced T-cell function.
Since multiple nutrients support immune function, older adults often benefit from multivitamin and mineral supplements.
These are readily available, inexpensive and generally regarded as safe.”
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in the journal of Nutrients (Fantacone et al., 2020).