Interest in Multi-vitamin supplementation (MVS) has increasingly grown over the years (Bailey et al., 2011; Waddington et al., 2018), with more individuals seeking support for dietary requirements (Petkova et al., 2018). MVS proposes to support the maintenance of an individual’s dietary needs (National Health Service [NHS] 2011). This review will discuss MVS research. MVS is a collection of vitamins essential for biological regulation, fabricated in capsules, tablets or powder (ODS, 2001; 2016). Elements therein are either plant extracts or synthetic fabrications manufactured in laboratory settings (FDA, 1993). MVS is the most accessed supplement within western society (Timbo et al. 2006; Bailey et al. 2013; Waddington et al., 2018) with Individuals’ reporting the main purpose of MVS is for general health (Blendon et al., 2001).
Kim et al. (2018) carried out a meta-analysis of 18 previous studies, from 1970-2016, concerning MVS and cardio-vascular diseases (CVD), conditions narrowing blood vessels in the arteries and heart following a build-up of fatty deposits, blocking off blood supply to brain (NHS, 2018). Their sizeable two million participant systematic review integrated clinical trials and prospective cohort studies- representative of the population. Their results showed no improvement of CVD, in risk and mortality rate, in individuals when taking MVS. They concluded MVS does not improve CVD. Haslam and Prasad’s (2018) commentary paper of Kim et al. (2018) meta-analysis further supported their results.
Harris et al. (2011) used a randomised double-blind procedure to research the relationship between MVS, mood and stress. They found mood was significantly improved while stress was significantly reduced. Specifically, individuals scored less on a Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) (Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995). Macpherson et al. (2015) assessed if a single MVS dose could improve mood and cognitive function. Result's concluded mood was enhanced after a single dose, however cognitive function was not.
MVS may have a harmful nature as it may prevent individuals from seeking the doctor for treatment of a health condition, as they may believe MVS will improve their health (Waddington et al. 2018). Interestingly, the US Department of Health and Human Services shows no evidence supporting usage of MVS for preventing chronic illnesses (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).
Perhaps a more varied and balanced diet of fruits and vegetables is favourable over MVS.