Benefits of multivitamins for men
Corinne Wyper, BHSc Nat, Dip RM, Cert IV Nursing
Obtaining the essential nutrients we require from a healthy, balanced diet is always the preference when it comes to making recommendations for our patients. Sometimes, however, this is not possible.
Even with the abundance of food we find in the western world, nutritional deficiencies are still common, often due to nutrient-deplete food choices, poor farming practices or a lack of nutrients in the soil. In fact, The World Health Organization estimates that more than two billion people worldwide experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
In men, the benefits of multivitamin supplementation have been the subject of multiple clinical trials.[4-6] A 2016 long-term prospective study, incorporating 18,530 healthy male physicians aged 40 years and over studied over a mean period of 12 years, found that multivitamin use was associated with a lower risk of major cardiovascular disease (CVD) events.
The hypothesised benefits of multivitamin supplementation on the reduced risk of CVD includes antioxidant effects of vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol and beta carotene and vitamin D sufficiency promoting healthy endothelial function. Folate, vitamins B6 and B12 were recognised as important components of homocysteine metabolism, with sufficiency of these vitamins thought to contribute to a reduced risk of atherosclerosis and thrombotic events.
A 2015 study in Chinese men aged 40-69 years, who took multivitamins for six years, found a 63% reduction in fracture risk as well as less fracture-related hospitalisations. In healthy older men, aged 50-69, multivitamin supplementation has also been associated with improved alertness, mood and wellbeing.
A recent 2018 review also showed intake of multivitamins reduced the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies and helped to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The review discussed the field of nutrigenomics, which may be of benefit in ascertaining genetic tendencies in the metabolism of nutrients, as well as their effects on chronic disease in the wider population. Researchers recommended further studies on multivitamin benefits to include nutrigenomic profiling to enhance long-term individualised health outcomes.
1. Ward E. Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements. Nut J 2014;13:72. [Full Text]
2. Hechtman L. Clinical naturopathic medicine. Chatswood: Elsevier, 2012. [Source]
3. Blumberg JB, Bailey RL, Sesso HD, et al. The evolving role of multivitamin/multimineral supplement use among adults in the age of personalized nutrition. Nutrients 2018;10(2);248. [Abstract]
4. Rautiainen S, Rist PM, Glynn RJ, et al. Multivitamin use and the risk of cardiovascular disease in men. J Nutrition 2016;146(6):1235-1240. [Abstract]
5. Wang SM, Yin LY, Zhang Y, et al. Multivitamin and mineral supplementation is associated with the reduction of fracture risk and hospitalisation rate in Chinese adult males: a randomised controlled study. J Bone Miner Metab 2015;33(3):294–302. [Abstract]
6. Harris E, Kirk J, Rowsell R, et al. The effect of multivitamin supplementation on mood and stress in healthy older men. Human Psychopharmacol 2011;26(8). [Abstract]