The Use of Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplements: A Modified Delphi Consensus Panel Report

Jeffrey B Blumberg, Hellas Cena, Susan I Barr, Hans Konrad Biesalski, Ricardo Uauy Dagach, Brendan Delaney, Balz Frei, Manuel Ignacio Moreno González, Nahla Hwalla, Ronette Lategan-Potgieter, Helene McNulty, Jolieke C van der Pols, Pattanee Winichagoon, Duo Li
Clinical Therapeutics 2018, 40 (4): 640-657

PURPOSE: Evidence supporting the use of dietary supplements, in particular, multivitamin/multimineral supplements (MVMS), has been mixed, complicating the ability of health care professionals to recommend their use. To clarify the role that MVMS can play in supporting human health, a series of consensus statements was developed based on expert opinion.

METHODS: A panel of 14 international experts in nutritional science and health care was convened to develop consensus statements related to using MVMS in supporting optimal human health. The modified Delphi process included 2 rounds of remote voting and a final round of voting at a roundtable meeting where evidence summaries were presented and discussed. The level of agreement with each of 9 statements was rated on a 5-point Likert scale: agree strongly; agree with reservation; undecided; disagree; or disagree strongly. Consensus was predefined as ≥80% of the panel agreeing strongly or agreeing with reservation to a given statement.

FINDINGS: Consensus was reached for all statements. The panel determined that MVMS can broadly improve micronutrient intakes when they contain at least the micronutrients that are consumed insufficiently or have limited bioavailability within a specified population. MVMS formulations may also be individualized according to age, sex, life cycle, and/or other selected characteristics. There are specific biological processes and health outcomes associated with deficient, inadequate, and adequate micronutrient levels. Adequate intake is necessary for normal biological functioning required for good health; in some instances, higher than recommended micronutrient intakes have the potential to provide additional health benefits. Meeting daily intakes established by dietary reference values should be an explicit public health goal for individuals and populations. Use of MVMS is one approach to ensure that adequate micronutrient needs are met in support of biological functions necessary to maintain health. Long-term use of MVMS not exceeding the upper limit of recommended intakes has been determined to be safe in healthy adults. There is insufficient evidence to indicate that MVMS are effective for the primary prevention of chronic medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, for certain otherwise healthy subpopulations (eg, pregnant women, older adults) and some individuals with existing medical conditions who experience inadequacies in micronutrient intake, addressing inadequacies by using MVMS can provide health benefits.

IMPLICATIONS: This consensus panel has described key issues related to the use of MVMS among individuals at risk of or presenting with inadequacies in micronutrient intake or biomarker status.

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