Older adults are at increased risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to age-related immune system decline. Several lines of evidence suggest that taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (MVM) could improve immune function in individuals 55 and older. To test this hypothesis, we provided healthy older adults with either an MVM supplement formulated to improve immune function (Redoxon® VI, Singapore) or an identical, inactive placebo control to take daily for 12 weeks. Prior to and after treatment, we measured (1) their blood mineral and vitamin status (i.e., vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D); (2) immune function (i.e., whole blood bacterial killing activity, neutrophil phagocytic activity, and reactive oxygen species production); (3) immune status (salivary IgA and plasma cytokine/chemokine levels); and (4) self-reported health status. MVM supplementation improved vitamin C and zinc status in blood and self-reported health-status without altering measures of immune function or status or vitamin D levels, suggesting that healthy older adults may benefit from MVM supplementation. Further development of functional assays and larger study populations should improve detection of specific changes in immune function after supplementation in healthy older adults. Clinical Trials Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT02876315.
Keywords: illness; immune; multivitamin; placebo; randomized clinical trial; vitamin C; vitamin D; zinc.