Multivitamin supplementation improves nutrition status in older men

Multis improve vitamin status and cellular function in older men.

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In a study focused on older men, researchers have discovered that dietary supplementation can significantly improve nutrition biomarkers. This groundbreaking finding highlights the potential of targeted nutritional interventions to enhance overall health and well-being in aging populations. By examining the effects of dietary supplements on specific biomarkers, this study provides valuable insights into optimizing nutrition for older individuals. The research demonstrates the importance of tailored approaches to support healthy aging. It underscores the potential for dietary supplementation as a viable strategy.

A six-month study conducted by Oregon State University revealed that daily multivitamin/multimineral supplementation had a beneficial impact on important nutrition biomarkers in healthy older men. Led by Tory Hagen and Alexander Michel’s, the research also indicated that these improvements in nutrition status were linked to enhanced cellular function, as measured by the oxygen consumption of participants’ blood cells. These findings, published in the journal Nutrients, suggest that dietary supplementation could play a crucial role in maintaining health as individuals age.

Michels, a research associate at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, said, “Many older adults take a multivitamin, thinking it will help them stay healthy. However, previous studies have shown mixed results regarding multivitamins and disease risk. We wanted to know why there was so much uncertainty. Are multivitamins possibly less effective at changing nutrition biomarkers in older adults?”

In a double-masked study conducted by a research group of eight scientists from Oregon State University (OSU), 35 healthy men aged 68 or older were recruited. Half of the participants received a Centrum Silver supplement. In contrast, the other half received a placebo, with neither group aware of which they were receiving. During the study, participants were prohibited from taking other supplements except for doctor-prescribed vitamin D. At the beginning of the trial; tests revealed that many of the older men were not obtaining optimal levels of specific vitamins.

After the six-month trial, significant differences emerged between the supplement and placebo groups. The multivitamin group showed improved nutrition biomarkers, whereas the placebo group did not. The study indicated that food alone was insufficient to maintain adequate vitamin and carotenoid levels, with carotenoids playing a vital role in human health by providing an additional source of vitamin A.

While the study did not directly assess disease risk, the researchers examined the white blood cells, essential immune system components. Surprisingly, the group of placebo participants showed decreased cellular oxygen consumption, indicating a decline in cell function. In contrast, those who took the multivitamin did not experience this reduction, suggesting a potential link between vitamin status and white blood cell function.

The researchers are eager to investigate this connection further. They believe this study marks the beginning of a new era in multivitamin research, emphasizing that while many older men could benefit from daily multivitamin supplementation, the response may vary among individuals. Understanding who benefits most and why will be crucial for multivitamin trials evaluating disease risk. The research team involved scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute and various colleges at Oregon State University.

The study findings suggest that daily multivitamin/multimineral supplementation can prevent or reverse the decline in vitamin biomarkers and cellular energy metabolism in healthy older men. The research team believes this study marks the beginning of a new era in multivitamin research. It underscores the potential benefits of tailored nutritional interventions for supporting healthy aging.

Future studies should aim to identify individuals who would benefit the most from such supplementation and investigate its impact on disease risk. The research team included scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute and various colleges at Oregon State University, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of the study.

Journal Reference:

  1. Michels, A.J.; Butler, J.A.; Uesugi, S.L.; Lee, K. et al. Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplementation Prevents or Reverses Decline in Vitamin Biomarkers and Cellular Energy Metabolism in Healthy Older Men: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu15122691
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