The Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Immune Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial.

Nutrients. 2020;12(8)
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Vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy immune system. The prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies increases with age, and this may contribute to age-related decline of the immune system. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a daily multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplement could improve the immune function of older people. 42 healthy adults aged between 55 and 75 took part in this single-centre, two-armed, parallel, randomised, double-blinded study. Half of the group was given a MVM supplement called Redoxon Vita Immune (VI) containing the vitamins A, D, E, C, B6, B12 and folate plus iron, copper, zinc and selenium daily for 12 weeks, whilst the other half was given placebo tablets for 12 weeks. Participants were instructed to avoid certain foods high in vitamins and minerals such as oily fish, red meat, liver, and citrus fruits during the study period. Blood and saliva samples were taken from all participants at the beginning and end of the study period, to measure vitamin and mineral status and markers of immune function. Participants also kept a diary to record any illnesses or symptoms. At the end of the study, participants given the MVM supplement had increased their blood levels of vitamin C by 126% and zinc by 43%. There was no significant change in blood levels of vitamin D. There was no significant difference in the potential of blood to kill the introduced bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, or in neutrophil activity, nor were there any significant changes in blood levels of cytokines and chemokines. Participants taking the supplement did however report a shorter length, and lower severity of illnesses compared to those taking the placebo. The authors concluded that their findings support further research to test whether MVM supplementation can improve immune outcomes in older adults.


Older adults are at increased risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to age-related immune system decline. Several lines of evidence suggest that taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (MVM) could improve immune function in individuals 55 and older. To test this hypothesis, we provided healthy older adults with either an MVM supplement formulated to improve immune function (Redoxon® VI, Singapore) or an identical, inactive placebo control to take daily for 12 weeks. Prior to and after treatment, we measured (1) their blood mineral and vitamin status (i.e., vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D); (2) immune function (i.e., whole blood bacterial killing activity, neutrophil phagocytic activity, and reactive oxygen species production); (3) immune status (salivary IgA and plasma cytokine/chemokine levels); and (4) self-reported health status. MVM supplementation improved vitamin C and zinc status in blood and self-reported health-status without altering measures of immune function or status or vitamin D levels, suggesting that healthy older adults may benefit from MVM supplementation. Further development of functional assays and larger study populations should improve detection of specific changes in immune function after supplementation in healthy older adults. Clinical Trials Registration: #NCT02876315.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Immune function
Environmental Inputs : Nutrients
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood ; Saliva

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 5
Allocation concealment : Yes