Dietary supplements for shorter illnesses and less severe symptoms – naturopathy & naturopathic specialist portal

Do certain dietary supplements reduce the severity of illness?

Taking daily multivitamin and mineral supplements that contain zinc and high levels of vitamin C appears to help older people become ill and have less severe symptoms for shorter periods of time.

In a study at Oregon State University, the research group found that multivitamin and mineral supplements containing zinc and high levels of vitamin C appear to be associated with illnesses with shorter periods of time and less severe symptoms in older adults. The results were published in the English-language journal “Nutrients“Published.

42 elderly people were examined for the study

42 healthy people aged 55 to 75 took part in the study. The researchers wanted to find out how strongly dietary supplements affect certain indicators of the immune system. To do this, they also examined the zinc content in the blood and the effects of vitamin C and vitamin D while taking the dietary supplement, as these micronutrients are important for good immune function.

Benefits of taking vitamins

The multivitamin group of participants showed improved vitamin C and zinc levels in their blood. Interestingly, the disease symptoms reported by this group were less severe and cleared faster than the group of participants taking placebo, the researchers report. In each of the groups, the same percentage of participants reported symptoms, but sick days in the supplement group averaged less than three days compared to more than six days in the placebo group, the research group adds.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies increase with age

With increasing age, the risk of a vitamin and mineral deficiency increases, which contributes to age-related immune deficiencies. Research from the United States, Canada, and Europe suggests that more than a third of older adults are deficient in at least one micronutrient, often more than one.

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Why do older people benefit from nutritional supplements?

“This probably contributes to a decline in the immune system, which is mostly characterized by increased inflammation, decreased innate immune function and reduced T-cell function,” said study author Professor Adrian Gombart of Oregon State University in one Press release. Because multiple nutrients support immune function, older adults often benefit from multivitamin and mineral supplements, the research group claims. Such food supplements are easily available, inexpensive and generally to be assessed as safe.

What was in the dietary supplement?

The multivitamin supplement used in the study focused on vitamins and minerals that are typically thought to support the immune system. The dietary supplement contained 700 micrograms of vitamin A, 400 units of vitamin D, 45 milligrams of vitamin E, 6.6 milligrams of vitamin B6, 400 micrograms of folate, 9.6 micrograms of vitamin B12, 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 5 milligrams of iron , 0.9 milligrams of copper, 10 milligrams of zinc and 110 micrograms of selenium.

Further research is warranted

“The supplementation was associated with significantly increased circulating zinc and vitamin C levels and with symptoms of the disease that were less severe and of shorter duration,” reports Professor Gombart. More, better-designed research studies are now needed to explore the positive role multivitamin and mineral supplementation could play in boosting the immune systems of older adults. (as)

Author and source information


  • Oregon State University: Multivitamin, mineral supplement linked to less-severe, shorter-lasting illness symptoms (veröffentlicht 18.09.2020), Oregon State University
  • Mary L. Fantacone , Malcolm B. Lowry , Sandra L. Uesugi , Alexander J. Michels, Jaewoo Choi et al.: The Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Immune Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial, in Nutrients (veröffentlicht 14.09.2020), Nutrients

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.


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