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What You Need to Know About Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

The Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) 2006
(The annual conference of the American Dietetic Association)
Sunday, September 17, 2006, Honolulu, Hawaii

The purpose of this session was two-fold: 1) to provide information on the state-of-the-science on the associations between use of multivitamin and mineral supplements with chronic disease risk in adults. In addition, to review the findings of a systematic evidence-based review commissioned by NIH on this topic, and the implications for dietetic practice; and 2) provide findings from recent nationwide (NHANES) population-based surveys of total dietary intakes of children and adolescents, including dietary supplement use; and to summarize implications for dietitians in the planning and assessment of dietary intakes.


Program Planner/Presiding Officer: Leila G Saldanha, PhD, RD, Scientific Consultant, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD.

Speaker #1: State of the Science: Multivitamin-Mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Risk: Johanna Dwyer, DSc, RD, Senior Nutrition Scientist, Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH and Professor; Tufts University.

This presentation (PDF, 1.6MB) provides important findings from the report prepared by the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program. The report synthesizes published literature on the efficacy of multivitamin/mineral supplements and certain single nutrient supplements in the primary prevention of chronic disease in the general adult population, and on the safety of multivitamin/mineral supplements and certain single nutrient supplements, likely to be included in multivitamin/mineral supplements, in the general population of adults and children. The report provided information on questions addressed at the State-of-the-Science Conference on Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Prevention, convened May 15-17, 2006 in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Speaker #2: What Dietary Supplements are US Children Taking? Mary Frances Picciano, PhD, Senior Nutrition Research Scientist, Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH, Bethesda, MD.

This presentation (PDF, 1.4MB) provides information on trends in dietary supplement sales in the United States and findings from national surveys on use among children. Data from the 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) were analyzed to obtain nationally representative estimates of the prevalence of dietary supplement use among US children by demographic and lifestyle characteristics. The data sets included 10,136 children aged birth through 18 years. Data evaluation showed that 31.8% of children used dietary supplements in 1999-2002, with lowest use reported among infants <1 year (11.9%) and teenagers 14-18 years (25.7%) and highest use among 4-8 year olds (48.5%). Use of dietary supplements was highest among non-Hispanic white children (38.1%), followed by Mexican American children (22.4%), and lowest among non-Hispanic black children (18.8%), and did not differ by gender. The most commonly used type of supplement was multivitamins/multiminerals (18.3% of children). Vitamins C (28.6%), A (25.8%), D (25.6%), calcium (21.1%), and iron (19.3%) were the primary supplemental nutrients consumed by children. Use of dietary supplements by children was associated with higher household incomes, certain family lifestyles, child weight status, and less daily recreational screen time (TV, video games, computers, etc.). Intake of select nutrients from dietary supplements was high and for this reason, dietary supplement usage must be included in nutritional assessment to obtain accurate estimates of overall nutrient intake in children.

Additional Resources: