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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):558-65. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Multivitamin supplementation improves nutritional status and bone quality in aged care residents.

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School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia.



To assess the effectiveness of a multivitamin (MV) tablet on nutritional status, quantitative heel ultrasound (QUS), mobility, muscle strength and falls. The design comprised two groups matched on mobility levels, randomized to receive a daily MV or placebo (P) tablet for 6 months. The setting was an Australian residential care facility.


A total of 92 aged care residents. Serum micronutrients, body weight, QUS, rate of falls, hand grip strength, and the timed up and go test were assessed at baseline and 6 months.


A total of 49 participants consumed a MV and 43, a matched P for 6 months. There was a greater increase in the MV vs P group for serum 25(OH)D (mean difference+/-standard error, 33.4+/-2.6 nmol l(-1)), folate (13.4+/-2.8 nmol l(-1)), and vitamin B12 (178.0+/-40.3 pmol l(-1)) (all P<0.001). Adequate 25(OH)D concentrations (> or =50 nmol l(-1)) were found among 77% of participants in the MV group vs 10% taking P (P<0.001). Adjusting for baseline levels, the increase in QUS was greater in the MV vs P group (3.0+/-2.0 dB MHz(-1) vs -2.9+/-2.1 dB MHz(-1), respectively, P=0.041). There was a trend towards a 63% lower mean number of falls in the MV vs P group (0.3+/-0.1 falls vs 0.8+/-0.3 falls, P=0.078).


MV supplementation raised serum vitamin B12 and folate concentrations and increased serum 25(OH)D, which was accompanied by an apparent positive effect on bone density. We also found a trend towards a reduction in falls and this could contribute to a reduction in fractures.

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