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STUDY: Are the Nutrients in Multivitamin Supplements Absorbed?





About the study


The study, "Effects of Multivitamin/Mineral (MVM) Supplementation on Plasma Levels of Nutrients," (nutrient absorption study),1 is a secondary publication based on a major NIH-funded human clinical trial.2 The study investigates how long term multivitamin/multimineral supplementation affects riboflavin status and plasma levels of the nutrients vitamins A, B12, C, E, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Participants were healthy well-nourished adults aged 55-75 randomized to receive either a Centrum3 or a placebo tablet daily.


The Centrum tablet provided essential vitamins and minerals at or about the daily recommended levels as established by the IOM, and adopted by the FDA.


The Findings

  • Compared with the start of the study, vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin B12 and folate levels increased in those who were given Centrum® versus those given a sugar pill. Riboflavin levels also improved.
  • Those assigned Centrum® compared to those assigned the sugar pill also had greater levels of vitamin C in four of the six follow-up visits and greater levels of vitamin A in three of six follow-up visits.
  • The multivitamin/multimineral had a greater impact on blood levels of vitamins A, E, C and riboflavin in individuals with lower nutritional status at the start of the study, suggesting that the benefits may be greatest for those with lower nutritional status.


What This Means to You

Taking a multivitamin/multimineral supplement like Centrum daily can help ensure you get recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals important for overall health and well-being.

  1. Effects of Multivitamin/Mineral Supplementation on Plasma Levels of Nutrients: Report No.4 of the Italian-American Clinical Trial of Nutritional Supplements and Age-Related Cataract. Annali dell’Istituto Superiore di Sanità; 45: 119-127.
  2. A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Multivitamin Supplementation for Age- Related Lens Opacities: Clinical Trial of Nutritional Supplements and Age-Related Cataract;
    Report No.3. Ophthalmology 2008; 115: 599-606.
  3. Pfizer Consumer Healthcare provided the Centrum tablets used in the nine year study, but played no role in the collection, analysis or interpretation of the data or preparation of the study manuscript.

Image Credits: Slawomir Fajer/

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