Research confirms that Multivitamins work

Image of a multivitamin

Nearly a third of Americans risk the lack of micronutrients according to new US research. The good news is that dietary supplements seem to do just what is promised: they cover up the shortcomings. With the help of the NHANES (Health and Nutrition Register) which shows how much of vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate and the mineral iron the population ingests, made a summary of the risk of nutritional deficiencies among American adults and children over nine years. According to the findings, based on data from the years 2003-2004 and 2005-2006, is less almost a third of the US population- 31 percent – at risk of iron deficiency and/or at least one of the mentioned vitamins. 23 percent, 6.3 percent, and 1.7 percent were at risk of lack of one, two and 3-5 different vitamins or iron, respectively.


The analysis also showed the following high-risk groups:

  • Women (37%), especially menstruating women (41%) and pregnant and nursing women (47%).
  • Low-income households (40%) and people without a high school education
  • (42%).
  • Underweight (42%) and obese (39%).


Those who ate a full diet according to the estimated average need had a lower risk of deficiencies (16%) compared to those who had an insufficient diet (57%).

Nutrition study confirms the effects of dietary supplements

The fact that multivitamin/mineral supplements appear to protect against nutritional deficiencies are confirmed by another major compilation by nutrition researcher Jeffrey Blumberg and his team at Tufts University in Massachusetts. They also used the NHANES registry and analyzed data from 10,698 adults from 2009-2012.

Dietary intake was compared to dietary intake plus intake of multivitamin-mineral supplements (with 17 nutrients within the limit of maximum intake – Upper Limit, UL). The researchers also analyzed the subjects’ nutritional status of five subjects that are recognized biomarkers for nutritional deficiencies: Vitamin B6, B12, C and D, and iron. According to the researchers’ conclusion, the people who regularly had a multivitamin/mineral supplement (more than 21 days a month) had virtually no risk of lack of micronutrients except calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin D. The risk of iron deficiency was associated with the fact that most multipurpose products (multivitamin/minerals) do not contain iron. 


Also risk of shortcomings in European countries

Although the US standard diet is notorious for containing large amounts of refined foods and too few vegetables, suggest new findings from the large Spanish ANIBES study that even Spain’s population has a too low intake of nutrients such as vitamins A, C and vitamin E, selenium and zinc.

In the Nordic countries, men generally have poorer eating habits than women, according to the survey The Nordic Monitoring System conducted in 2014 on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The largest proportion of unhealthy eating habits exists in the age group 25 to 44 years old.




Bird JK, Murphy RA, Ciappio ED, McBurney MI. Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States. Nutrients. 2017 Jun 24;9(7).
Blumberg JB, Frei BB, Fulgoni VL, Weaver CM, Zeisel SH. Impact of Frequency of Multi-Vitamin/Multi-Mineral Supplement Intake on Nutritional Adequacy and Nutrient Deficiencies in U.S. Adults. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 9;9(8).