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The science behind multivitamins

Thursday July 9, 2020
The science behind multivitamins

Image caption: "eat the rainbow" to ensure an adequate intake of the required nutrient spectrum


What are the reasons for taking multivitamins and how important is the influence of diet? A multivitamin and mineral formulation provides a spectrum of nutrients known to be required from food by the human body.  Subsequently food supplements are designed to support the individual’s diet and in cases of sub-optimal nutrient intakes, it is crucial that the multivitamin buffers the appropriate nutrients to help to prevent deficiencies.

Multivitamin Research


Several research trials have investigated multivitamin use and the prevention or treatment of health conditions. Notably, a trial investigating the effect of a daily multivitamin reported the normalising of elevated blood pressure[1]. In addition, a further trial reported the improvement of chronic health diseases in response to multivitamin use in participants who had sub-optimal nutrient or nutrient deficiencies[2].   


In the same study vitamin D and calcium provision was found to have a dose dependant relationship with bone health in postmenopausal women.  Similarly, a long-term follow-up study reported that in initially healthy men long term multivitamin use may reduce the risk of cardiovascular outcomes[3].

Multivitamin capsules

Image caption: if there are nutrient deficiencies the use of a multivitamin may help ward off several health conditions

The Importance of Diet

There are several studies that do not find positive improvements in relation to multivitamin supplementation.  This may be due to other factors of the pathology of the health condition under investigation, and the fact that the studies that do have beneficial outcomes are generally when the individual commences with nutrient deficiencies and sub-optimal status.  


These examples show that if there are nutrient deficiencies, the use of a multivitamin may offer hope in warding off several health conditions.  Subsequently a good diet is king, with a multivitamin and mineral formula designed to fill the gaps in the diet.


Find out more about what a healthy diet should contain here  


Author: Jenny Carson is a Nutritional Practitioner and Technical Services Manager at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Nutritional Science and is a Master of Research (MRes) in Public Health.

Others in this series:

 Benefits of Multivitamins


 Multivitamins Compared


 Vitamin D Research


 Powerful Vitamin C


 [1] Li K, Liu C, Kuang X, Deng Q, Zhao F, Li D. Effects of Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of 12 Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2018;10(8):1018. Published 2018 Aug 3. doi:10.3390/nu10081018

[2] Huang HY, Caballero B, Chang S, et al. Multivitamin/mineral supplements and prevention of chronic disease. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2006;(139):1-117.

[3] Rautiainen S, Rist PM, Glynn RJ, Buring JE, Gaziano JM, Sesso HD. Multivitamin Use and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Men. J Nutr. 2016;146(6):1235-1240. doi:10.3945/jn.115.227884

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

Viridian explains Why Diet Matters


TAGS: MultivitaminsVitamins, Diet, LoveNHSLoveYourself, Love Health Love Yourself


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