Multivitamins May Reduce Lung Infections in the Elderly
Older people who take a daily nutritional supplement containing all essential vitamins and minerals may reduce their risk of developing bronchitis and pneumonia, according to a new study in Nutrition Research.1
In this study, 36 healthy people between 51 and 78 years old were assigned to receive either a daily multivitamin and trace element supplement or a placebo. The supplement contained at least 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for each nutrient. Participants reported their health status to the researchers each month or anytime they felt unwell. Those who reported feeling ill were given appropriate exams and tests to diagnose their condition.
The researchers showed that participants who took a multivitamin and mineral complex had a 52% reduction in the number of days feeling ill due to respiratory infections and a 54% decrease in the number of days of antibiotic use, compared with those taking a placebo. Although specific tests that evaluate immune function were not performed as part of this trial, the results suggest that taking a multivitamin with trace minerals improves immunity and protects against infections of the lung.
The author notes that older people have a higher incidence of infection and that when they become ill their diseases last longer and are often more severe than those seen in younger adults. Based on the results of this study, the author recommends that all adults over 50 years old take a daily multivitamin and trace element formula to reduce the risk of developing respiratory infections.
1. Jain AL. Influence of vitamins and trace-elements on the incidence of respiratory infection in the elderly. Nutr Res 2002;22:85–7.
Darin Ingels, ND, MT (ASCP), received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Dr. Ingels is the author of Garlic and Cholesterol: Everything You Need to Know (Prima, 1999) and Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol (Prima, 2000). He currently is in private practice in Westport, CT, where he specializes in environmental medicine and allergies. Dr. Ingels is a regular contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.
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