In a new study, adults who took a daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement experienced shorter periods of sickness, and with less severe symptoms, than their counterparts in a placebo control group.
The supplement contained the vitamins and minerals traditionally thought to support immune health: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, plus a blend of B-vitamins including B6, B9 and B12.
The clinical trial was conducted over a 12 week period by researchers at Oregon State University.
Details were published in the journal Nutrients in August 2020.
The study did not include probiotics, enzymes and immune-building herbs like echinacea since the focus was just on vitamins and minerals.
The study is certainly not ground-breaking since various studies have delved into the immune benefits of vitamins and minerals for almost a century. This fact was alluded-to by the authors of the study:
“This supports findings that stretch back decades, even to the days of Linus Pauling’s work with Vitamin C,” corresponding author Adrian Gombart, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science, said. “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.”
Though many smaller studies have been conducted on immune benefits of vitamins and minerals, extensive long-term research is more difficult to come by. This is because no company owns a patent on regular vitamins and minerals, thus removing the financial incentive to spend tens of millions of dollars to perform studies.
Unfortunately, this is the extent necessary to “prove” health claims to the satisfaction of government requirements.
The study featured a relatively-small group of 42 healthy people, aged between 55 and 75. This age group was chosen since it is the range associated with increased risk for micronutrient deficiencies.
Over the twelve-week period of the study, illnesses were recorded via participant self-reporting. Participants were instructed to provide researchers with incidences, severity, and length of any self-reported disease.
While there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of the frequency by which etiher group became sick, those who received the multi-vitamin/mineral supplements experienced fewer days of sickness, and their symptoms were less severe.
Of the days reporting ill, 62% of the illnesses listed by the supplement users were very mild, whereas an almost equal number of the placebo group reported moderate to severe symptoms.
Studies have found that a vast majority of middle-aged and elderly Americans are deficient in one or more micronutrients—and this new research highlights the critical nature of this shortfall.
“That likely contributes to a decline in the immune system, most often characterizerd by increased levels of inflammation, reduced innate immune function, and reduced T-cell function,” Gombart noted.
Learn more about the whole food difference in our video here.
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