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Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement May Help Reduce Severity and Symptoms of Illness

Micronutrient deficiency refers to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals required in small amounts by the body. Micronutrient deficiency can have a negative effect on the immune system. A new study has found that taking a multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplement formulated to improve immune function may help reduce illness severity and symptoms.

Forty-five healthy adults with an average age of 65 participated in the study. They received an MVM supplement formulated to improve immune function or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The MVM supplement contained 700 mcg of vitamin A, 400 international units of vitamin D, 45 mg of vitamin E, 6.6 mg of vitamin B6, 400 mcg of folate, 9.6 mcg of vitamin B12, 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 5 mg of iron, 0.9 mg of copper, 10 mg of zinc, and 110 mcg of selenium. The researchers measured blood levels of minerals and vitamins, immune function, immune status, and self-reported health status at baseline and at the end of the study period.

Participants in the MVM supplement group saw increased levels of serum vitamin C and zinc. They also reported only three days of sickness compared to six days in the placebo group. In addition, 62% of participants in the MVM group reported very mild symptoms while ill and 60% of participants in the placebo group reported mild to severe symptoms. No differences were seen in immune status or immune function.

The study was conducted by researchers from Oregon State University. It was published online ahead of print on August 12, 2020 in the journal Nutrients.

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