Objective: Multivitamin/mineral (MVMM) supplements are the most common dietary supplements consumed in the United States; however, intake data specific to how MVMM use contributes to micronutrient intakes among Americans are absent from the current scientific literature.
Methods: This analysis aimed to assess contributions of micronutrients to usual intakes derived from MVMM supplements and to compare those intakes to the dietary reference intakes for US residents aged ≥ 4 years according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010 (n = 16,444). We used the National Cancer Institute method to assess usual intakes of 21 micronutrients.
Results: Our results showed that 51% of Americans consumed MVMM supplements containing ≥ 9 micronutrients. Large portions of the population had total usual intakes (food and MVMM supplement use) below the estimated average requirement for vitamins A (35%), C (31%), D (74%), and E (67%) as well as calcium (39%) and magnesium (46%). Only 0%, 8%, and 33% of the population had total usual intakes of potassium, choline, and vitamin K above the adequate intake when food and MVMM use was considered. The percentage of the population with total intakes greater than the tolerable upper intake level (UL) was very low for all nutrients; excess intakes of zinc were the highest (3.5%) across the population of all of the nutrients assessed in NHANES.
Conclusions: In large proportions of the population, micronutrient sufficiency is currently not being achieved through food solutions for several essential vitamins and minerals. Use of age- and gender-specific MVMM supplements may serve as a practical means to increase the micronutrient status in subpopulations of Americans while not increasing intakes above the UL.
Keywords: NHANES; micronutrient; multivitamin/mineral.