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Multivitamin Use and Mortality Benefit

Multivitamin Use and Mortality Risk in 3 Prospective US Cohorts



Question  What is the association between long-term, daily multivitamin use and mortality in generally healthy adults?


Findings  In this cohort study of 390 124 generally healthy adults with more than 20 years of follow-up, daily multivitamin use was not associated with a mortality benefit.


Meaning  These findings suggest that multivitamin use to improve longevity is not supported.


Importance  One in 3 US adults uses multivitamins (MV), with a primary motivation being disease prevention. In 2022, the US Preventive Services Task Force reviewed data on MV supplementation and mortality from randomized clinical trials and found insufficient evidence for determining benefits or harms owing, in part, to limited follow-up time and external validity.


Objective  To estimate the association of MV use with mortality risk, accounting for confounding by healthy lifestyle and reverse causation whereby individuals in poor health initiate MV use.


Design, Setting, and Participants  This cohort study used data from 3 prospective cohort studies in the US, each with baseline MV use (assessed from 1993 to 2001), and follow-up MV use (assessed from 1998 to 2004), extended duration of follow-up up to 27 years, and extensive characterization of potential confounders. Participants were adults, without a history of cancer or other chronic diseases, who participated in National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study (327 732 participants); Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (42 732 participants); or Agricultural Health Study (19 660 participants). Data were analyzed from June 2022 to April 2024.


Exposure  Self-reported MV use.


Main Outcomes and Measures  The main outcome was mortality. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.


Results  Among 390 124 participants (median [IQR] age, 61.5 [56.7-66.0] years; 216 202 [55.4%] male), 164 762 deaths occurred during follow-up; 159 692 participants (40.9%) were never smokers, and 157 319 participants (40.3%) were college educated. Among daily MV users, 49.3% and 42.0% were female and college educated, compared with 39.3% and 37.9% among nonusers, respectively. In contrast, 11.0% of daily users, compared with 13.0% of nonusers, were current smokers. MV use was not associated with lower all-cause mortality risk in the first (multivariable-adjusted HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.07) or second (multivariable-adjusted HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.99-1.08) halves of follow-up. HRs were similar for major causes of death and time-varying analyses.


Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study of US adults, MV use was not associated with a mortality benefit. Still, many US adults report using MV to maintain or improve health.


Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.


Funding/Support: This work was supported by the intramural research program of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant No. Z01-ES049030), and National Cancer Institute (grant No. Z01-CP010119) and by the Office of Dietary Supplements Research Scholars Award, National Institutes of Health.

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