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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
January 2013

Multivitamin Effect on Mortality Unclear

A recent study suggests that multivitamin supplementation may not affect mortality risk.

Multivitamins are manufactured supplements that may contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Multivitamins are meant to provide individuals with the proper amounts and types of vitamin and mineral nutrients that the body needs. Supplemental multivitamins may benefit individuals who do not get enough vitamins and minerals from food, as well as people who have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food.

The kinds and amounts of nutrients in multivitamins vary widely. A typical multivitamin and mineral supplement may include some or all of the following: vitamins A, C, D, E and K; biotin; B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12); folic acid; and the minerals calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.

The new study examined results from 21 previous studies of multivitamin supplementation. The 21 studies included a total of 91,074 individuals. Across all studies, participants were an average of 62 years old and took multivitamins for an average of three and a half years.

Data analysis showed that taking multivitamins did not significantly reduce the risk of overall death, death from cancer or death from heart attack and stroke.

Further research on this topic is warranted.

For more information about multivitamin supplementation, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.


  1. Macpherson H, Pipingas A, and Pase MP. Multivitamin-multimineral supplementation and mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec 19. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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