Harvard Researchers Recommend Multivitamins

Harvard Researchers Recommend Multivitamins

Author -  Vicki Martin, Nutritionist and Naturopath

Harvard Researchers Recommend that all Adults take a Daily Multivitamin

Harvard Researchers recommend that all adults should take at least one multivitamin a day. Perhaps it seems strange that with all the food choices we enjoy, some of us might not get everything we need from our diet.

But, there’s increasing evidence that a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement can provide useful form of nutritional insurance that for most people. It may especially help to reduce the risk of developing some chronic diseases.

Who’s most likely to have low vitamin and mineral intakes?

Drs Fletcher & Fairfield reviewed studies [1] from 1966-2002 that examined the effects of inadequate intakes of important vitamins and minerals. The review looked at the effects of intake on various chronic health problems. According to the research, special risk groups included:

  • the young
  • the elderly
  • vegans
  • people who drink alcohol
  • people whose lifestyle prevents them from getting enough of the important vitamins and minerals they need. 

Specific vitamins and minerals

When they looked at particular nutrients for which low intakes created potential health problem risks, they identified:

  • Folic acid
  • the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E
  • minerals such as Zinc and Calcium. 

The conclusion: “all adults should take vitamin supplements”

According to their studies (published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in June 2002) [2], people need a regular and sensible intake of a variety of vitamins and minerals to maintain good health and help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

While Fletcher and Fairfield recommend a sensible approach, their overall conclusions are, that based on the current evidence “...it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements”.


  1. Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: Clinical applications. JAMA 2002 Jun 19;287(23): 3127-9: 
  2. Fairfield KM, Fletcher RH,. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: Scientific Review. JAMA 2002 Oct 9;288(14):1720.