Multivitamin protects against viruses
If people over 55 take a multivitamin every day with a gram of vitamin C and adequate amounts of micronutrients such as vitamin D, zinc and selenium, they reduce their chances of being infected by a flu or cold virus. And if they do get sick, they suffer less from the symptoms. Biochemists from Oregon State University write this in Nutrients.
The researchers experimented with 42 subjects aged 55-75. They gave half of their subjects a placebo every day for 12 weeks. The other half received 2 tablets of Bayer's multi-preparation Redoxon daily. The table below shows the nutritional content of these two tablets.
The supplementation increased the concentration of micronutrients such as vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C in the blood of the test subjects in the experimental group.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
The subjects wrote down in a diary whether they had a cold or the flu. If so, they also kept track of the severity of the symptoms.
The supplement reduced the number of days the subjects were ill. In addition, on the second and third days of infection, supplementation reduced the severity of symptoms.
The researchers were unable to find out how supplementation with extra vitamins and minerals protects against viruses. They found no effects of the supplement on antibody production or immune cell activity.
"Our findings support further research to test our hypothesis that multivitamin and mineral supplementation can improve immune outcomes in older adults", summarize the researchers. "The findings from this study are sufficient to inform our design for future studies on supplements and immune function."
Bayer provided the researchers with the supplements and placebo tablets for their study, and financed the research.
Nutrients. 2020 Aug 14;12(8):2447.
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