We often turn our focus to specific nutrients and their biological benefits in these newsletters, but what about the mother of them all, the grand multivitamin? Last year, multivitamins got a bad rap in the aftermath of two studies published in December of 2013 that declared them useless.
While those studies’ methods have been questioned and findings refuted extensively, several new studies have emerged singing the praises of multivitamins. If you’re new to nutrition and unsure of which supplements to take, start with a high-quality multivitamin that covers most of the bases.
Fast Facts: Short telomere length is seen as a sign of biological aging. Multivitamins have been shown to lengthen telomeres by reducing oxidative stress.
Multivitamin Use Cuts Stroke Risk in Half for People with Poor Diets
One of the most recent studies on the benefits of multivitamin use, published in American Heart Association journal Stroke, reported a reduction in strokes in older folks who supplemented with multivitamins. The Japanese study included over 72,000 men and women between the ages of 40 and 79.
Subjects filled out questionnaires on multivitamin use and other lifestyle factors and were monitored for about 19 years. 1,148 subjects died from ischemic stroke, 877 died from hemorrhagic stroke and 62 died from unspecified strokes during that time.
Researchers found that subjects who used multivitamins were 13% less likely to die from an unspecific stroke and 20% less likely to die from ischemic stroke. Among the 49.2% of subjects who consumed fruit and vegetables less than three times per day, regular use of a multivitamin was associated with a 33% reduction in overall stroke death compared to a 14% lower risk experienced by casual users. Among subjects who ate poor diets very low in produce, those who used multivitamins cut their stroke risk in half!
That means that multivitamins played an invaluable role in filling nutrition gaps for subjects who didn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Fast Facts: The Women’s Health Study, which includes five studies on the effects of multivitamins on CVD in women, found that multivitamins reduce CVD risk by a whopping 28%.
Multivitamins Encourage Happy Moods
In addition to filling a major nutrition gap for older folks with less-than-optimal diets, multivitamins may also be effective at boosting moods, according to a new study.
Researchers followed 76 women and found that those who supplemented with a multivitamin containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant extracts reported lower mental stress and happier, healthier moods than those who did not use a multivitamin. The real kicker? These positive benefits were observed after just one dose!
Fast Facts: According to the 7.5 year SU.VI.MAX study, multivitamins lowered total cancers in men by 18%. That means that we could prevent 135,000 cancers each year if every man took a multivitamin.