Multivitamins Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Supplement “insurance policy” for restoring missing dietary micronutrients
+1 (Slight Evidence)


  • Multivitamins contain numerous vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that may be missing in your diet. I view a daily multivitamin split in half as insurance against an imperfect diet.
  • As a rule, clinical studies focus on disease prevention for hard outcomes such as cancer and heart disease. While we are not yet very good at measuring softer outcomes of benefit, evolving evidence does suggest benefits to aging and vitality.
  • A recent study examining the use of Multi’s in women found that same-aged women who took a Multi tested as the equivalent of two years younger than those who did not.
  • Multi’s, particularly with extra folate, are especially important for women of childbearing age.
  • Multi’s also contain B vitamins (such as B6, niacin and pantothenic acid B5), which support a variety of metabolic processes, including maintaining a normal weight.
  • Because the elderly are at higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency, Multi’s can help prevent this. Also, the Multi’s crystalline B12 is much more easily absorbed than the B12 in food.


  • High doses (25,000 IU) of Retinyl palmitate (a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A) have been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and those at risk due to asbestos exposure.
  • Avoid Multi’s containing vitamin E in doses in excess of 400 IU. This has been associated with unfavorable cardiac outcomes in men taking statins for heart disease.
  • A healthy diet is the most practical and important way to prevent micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies. People who take Multi’s should not consider them perfect replacements for the proven health benefits of a healthy diet abundant in whole grains, vegetables fruits and nuts.

Multi’s can interact with and reduce the effectiveness of certain medications, such as warfarin. Work with your medical provider if this is a concern.

DOSAGE:Use as directed by the manufacturer. Choose a source with less than 2500 IU of vitamin A, not more than 400 IU of vitamin E, but as much B12 as you can find (up to 500 micrograms).

CONCLUSION:We conclude that evolving evidence of a Multivitamin suggests benefits to aging and vitality, particularly in specific cases of high risk or confirmed vitamin deficiencies. Even still, a healthy diet is the most practical and important way to prevent micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies.

“Multivitamins/Multiminerals.” LLC, 2013. 12 October 2013
“Multivitamins.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
Malone, M. et al. Recommended Nutritional Supplements for Bariatric Surgery Patients. The annals of Pharmacotherapy (2008) 42:1851-1858
Tanvetyanon, T., Bepler, G. et al. Beta-carotene in Multivitamins and the Possible Risk of Lung Cancer Among Smokers Versus Former Smokers. American Cancer Society (2008) 113:150-7
Folic Acid for the prevention of Neural Tube Defects: U.C. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine (2009) 150:626-631
Xu, Q. et al. Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) 89:1857-63
Maruti, S. et al. Folate and one-carbon metabolism nutrients from supplements and diet in relation to breast cancer risk. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) 89:624-33
Neuhouser, M. et al. Multivitamin User and Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in the Women’s Health and Initiative Cohorts. Arch Intern Med (2009) 169(3):294-304
Ribeiro, M.L. et al. Effects of multivitamin supplementation on DNA damage in lymphocytes from elderly volunteers. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development (2007) 128, 577-580
National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement: Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Prevention. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007) 85:257S-64S
Goh, Y.I. et al. Prenatal Multivitamin Supplementation and Rates of Pediatric Cancers: A Meta-Analysis. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2007) 81(5):685-691

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