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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Definitely an Opportunity (and Need) for Daily Multivitamin-Mineral Supplement

By Michael McBurney

The CDC released statistics from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2010. The good news is that youths are eating fruit regularly: 91.7% of 2-5y olds, 82% of 6-11 y olds, and 66.3% of 12-19y olds. The bad news is that this includes those eating ONLY ONE fruit serving daily.

Vegetable consumption was similar. Approximately 91% of youth 2-19y reported consuming a vegetable daily. The CDC does not report the proportion of youth consuming more than one serving or the recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables. My fear is the number would be depressingly low.  A systematic review of 16 prospective cohort studies found 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables was associated with lower risk of death, from any cause.

Dietary intakes of several nutrients - potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E - are low for many people. Fruits and vegetables are rich in two shortfall nutrients: dietary fiber and potassium, as well as dietary fiber and potassium, as well as carotenoids, folate,  vitamin A and vitamin C.

One serving of fruit and vegetables daily is not enough for an adolescent or adult. Essential nutrient requirements cannot be met outside of a balanced diet.  If a plate isn’t half full with fruit and vegetables,  it may provide enough, or even too many calories, but it will not have contain adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Protein foods, dairy foods, and grains are tasty, even nutritious, but they don’t constitute a balanced diet. See Cooking Light for help on serving size of common fruit and vegetables.

Choosing fortified foods can help fill nutrient gaps. As can dietary supplements. A daily multivitamin-mineral supplement is a safe, practical way to increase micronutrient intake. Best of all, eat more fruit and vegetables, choose fortified foods, and use a multivitamin-mineral supplement.

Main Citation

Nielsen SJ, Rossen LM, Harris DM, Ogden CL. Fruit and vegetable consumption of US youth, 2009-2010. NCHS data brief no 156.

Other Citations

Wang X, Ouyang Y, Liu J, Zhu M, Zhao G, Bao W, Hu B. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-dependent meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. 2014 Br Med J doi: 10.1136/bmj.g4490

Fulgoni VL, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: Where do Americans get their nutrients? 2011 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.111.142257

Wallace TC, McBurney MI, Fulgoni VL. Multivitamin/mineral supplement contribution to micronutrient intakes in the United States, 2007-2010. 2014 J Am Coll Nutr doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.846806