CHPA Statement to “Annals of Internal Medicine” Report on Multivitamins

Washington, D.C. (December 16, 2013) — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association issued the following statement on a recent “Annals of Internal Medicine” report on multivitamins:

“Multivitamins play a prominent role in consumers’ healthy lifestyle routines to fill nutritional gaps. Multivitamins are not intended to cure or prevent chronic disease but rather to address dietary deficiencies. Our bodies require a broad variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Yet, even calorie-rich diets can be nutritionally incomplete, and it can be challenging to get all the nutrients we need from food alone.

“The lack of a beneficial effect of multivitamins on cognitive health and cardiovascular disease recently reported in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ does not mean a lack of impact of vitamins on many other important health measures. There is a strong body of scientific evidence that supports the benefits of specific types of vitamins in other areas of health, wellness, and prevention. For example, studies have demonstrated the positive impact of vitamin D and calcium in bone health, of folic acid to prevent birth defects, of prenatal multi-vitamins to meet the changing nutritional needs of pregnant women, of antioxidants on immune function, and more.  The same ‘Physicians’ Health Study’ also showed  a modest –  but statistically significant – cancer reduction benefit (JAMA, Nov. 2012)  as well as decreased cataract risk (Ophthalmology, Nov. 2013) associated with long-term daily multivitamin use by middle-aged and older men, and a study published just last month shows that multivitamins and supplements may slow the progression of HIV (JAMA, Nov. 2013). Nutritional science research has driven these learnings, and ongoing research in this field –  regardless of positive or negative results –  is important.

“Consumers should strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise and can continue to use vitamins and minerals to fill nutritional gaps and enhance health.”

Contact: Jenni Terry, 202.429.9260

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 132-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by  consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.