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Study: Are the Nutrients in Multivitamin Supplements Absorbed?

A nine-year longitudinal clinical study from the University of Parma, Italy found that taking multivitamins can result in measurably higher levels of nutrients, especially for those who show shortfalls in nutrition levels.

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About the Study

The study, "Effects of Multivitamin/Mineral (MVM) Supplementation on Plasma Levels of Nutrients," (nutrient absorption study),1 a secondary publication based on a major NIH-funded human clinical trial,2 reveals the real long-term benefits of taking a daily multivitamin.

The study investigates how long-term multivitamin/multimineral supplementation affects not only riboflavin status, but also plasma (blood) levels of vitamins A, B12, C, E, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Participants were all healthy, well-nourished adults aged 55-75 years who randomly received 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 National Academy of Medicine and adopted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Findings

  • Those who were given Centrum showed a greater increase throughout the study in levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin B12, and folate levels compared to the people given sugar pills. Riboflavin levels mirrored this comparison.
  • Those assigned Centrum also had higher levels of vitamin C compared to those assigned the sugar pill in four of the six follow-up visits and higher 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 levels at the start of the study, suggesting that the benefits may be greatest for those with lower nutritional status.

Ensure You Support Your Health

Taking a multivitamin/multimineral supplement, like Centrum daily, can help ensure you get recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals to support your 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.

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