Daily multivitamin keeps you healthy – especially if you’re diabetic

In a study of over 100 adults living in North Carolina, those taking a daily multivitamin reported less infection, such as respiratory and urinary tract infections, influenza and gastrointestinal infections, and a lower rate of illness-related work absenteeism, than those receiving a placebo. The most striking results were seen among those subjects with diabetes.

A group of adults aged over 45 years old took a multivitamin and mineral supplement or placebo daily for one year. The researchers report that more participants receiving placebo reported an infectious illness over the study year than did participants receiving multivitamin and mineral supplements (73% versus 43% of those receiving vitamins). Infection-related absenteeism was also higher (57%) in the placebo group than in the treatment group (21%). There were 51 subjects involved in the study with type 2 diabetes. In this group, 93% taking the placebo reported an infection compared with only 17% of those receiving supplements.

They said that the results on diabetes patients were likely due to the correction of micronutrient deficiencies. The researchers add that a larger clinical trial is needed to determine whether these findings can be replicated not only in diabetic people, but also in any nutritionally deficient population.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine 2003;138:365–371