Copyright © 2021 Natural Medicines (
January 2013

Multivitamin Effect on Mortality Unclear

A recent study suggests that multivitamin supplementation may not affect mortality risk.

Multivitamins are manufactured supplements that may contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Multivitamins are meant to provide individuals with the proper amounts and types of vitamin and mineral nutrients that the body needs. Supplemental multivitamins may benefit individuals who do not get enough vitamins and minerals from food, as well as people who have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food.

The kinds and amounts of nutrients in multivitamins vary widely. A typical multivitamin and mineral supplement may include some or all of the following: vitamins A, C, D, E and K; biotin; B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12); folic acid; and the minerals calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.

The new study examined results from 21 previous studies of multivitamin supplementation. The 21 studies included a total of 91,074 individuals. Across all studies, participants were an average of 62 years old and took multivitamins for an average of three and a half years.

Data analysis showed that taking multivitamins did not significantly reduce the risk of overall death, death from cancer or death from heart attack and stroke.

Further research on this topic is warranted.

For more information about multivitamin supplementation, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.


  1. Macpherson H, Pipingas A, and Pase MP. Multivitamin-multimineral supplementation and mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec 19. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2021 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.