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NMU – 223 Multiple Vitamin with Zinc and Extra Vitamin C Improves Immune Function in those over 55 and Reduces Severity and Duration of Common Infections.

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 223 (December 14, 2021)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Multiple Vitamin with Zinc and Extra Vitamin C Improves Immune Function in those over 55 and Reduces Severity and Duration of Common Infections.

Source: Journal Nutrients (August 2020)


Older adults who took a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement with zinc and high amounts of vitamin C in a 12-week study experienced sickness for shorter periods and had less severe symptoms than counterparts who took the placebo. These findings were reported by Oregon State University in their published paper appearing in the journal Nutrients in August of 2020. The study included 42 healthy people ages 55 to 75. The study was designed to measure immune system parameters, common cold-type symptoms, and blood levels of vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D in both the group that was administered the multiple vitamin and mineral supplement with additional vitamin C (1,000 mg) vs the placebo group.

The study showed that the group receiving the multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that included high dose vitamin C (1,000 mg) showed higher blood levels of vitamin C and zinc than the placebo group. Both vitamin C and zinc are crucial nutrients to support immune function. These higher blood levels translated into shorter duration of cold and flu-like symptoms over the course of the 3-month study (3 illness days per bout vs more than 6 days of illness in those taking the placebo). As well, illness symptoms were less severe and went away faster in the group given the multiple vitamin and mineral supplement. The researchers stated the following, “As people get older, the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to age-related immune system deficiencies rises. Across the United States, Canada, and Europe, research suggests more than one-third of older adults are deficient in at least one micronutrient, often more than one.” “That likely contributes to a decline in the immune system, most often characterized by increased levels of inflammation, reduced innate immune function, and reduced T-cell function.”  “Since multiple nutrients support immune function, older adults often benefit from multivitamin and mineral supplements. One of the authors of the study commented, “This supports findings that stretch back decades, even to the days of Linus Pauling’s work with vitamin C.”

This research study lends additional support to many other studies in recent years showing that supplementation with key nutrients that support immune function, usually translates into improved protection against a multitude of infections. The vitamins and minerals of greatest importance to support immune function include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium. In my view a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that provides the following daily dosages will best support immune system function in most adults:

Vitamin A – 2500 IU

Vitamin C – 1,000 mg

Vitamin D – 1,000 IU (achieve a blood level of 85-140 nmol/L or 35 – 56 ng/ml)

Vitamin E – 400 IU

Zinc -15 mg

Selenium -200 mcg

I have included the reference for this research study in the text below.



1.Mary L. Fantacone, Malcolm B. Lowry, Sandra L. Uesugi, Alexander J. Michels, Jaewoo Choi, Scott W. Leonard, Sean K. Gombart, Jeffrey S. Gombart, Gerd Bobe, Adrian F. Gombart. The Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Immune Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 2020; 12 (8): 2447

2. Science Daily August 18, 2020: Multivitamin, mineral supplement linked to less-severe, shorter-lasting illness symptoms


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. James Meschino

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