Multivitamins play a key role in health and wellbeing for people with vitamin and mineral deficiencies

07 March 2014

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7 March 2014 - Australian consumers can continue to have confidence in the wealth of evidence that exists on the role of multivitamins in providing overall health and wellness benefits and filling dietary gaps in combination with healthy lifestyle choices, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said today.

ASMI's comments are in response to recent studies and an editorial, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which challenges the role of multivitamins in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer as well as cognitive function.1

According to ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director, Steve Scarff: "Vitamins and supplements are not a panacea for preventing chronic disease, however, they do have a legitimate place in the wider health system and remain important for many people.
"Ideally, most Australian adults would be getting their essential nutrients from a healthy diet, but the reality is that many people are not meeting the recommended daily nutrient requirements. For those people with vitamin and mineral deficiencies, multivitamins can play a key role in general health and wellbeing.

"A study on the state of Australia's health, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, highlights that the typical consumer diet falls short on essential nutrients, with only 5.6 per cent of the adult population having an adequate intake of fruit and vegetables.2
"The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that only 4-6 per cent of children aged between five and seventeen years consumed the recommended serves of vegetables each day.3 In a national survey, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that children's intake of fruits and vegetables did not meet recommended intake levels. 4
"The journal Nutrition reported the results of a survey of Australian children and found that, on average, they eat just 20 per cent of the recommended quantity of Omega3 fatty acids.5 Finally, a national study funded by state Cancer Councils, the Cancer Council of Australia and the National Heart Foundation found that only 14 per cent of secondary school students met the dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetables.6
Consumers are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional who can provide advice on nutritional needs. As with all medications, it is important that consumers follow the label instructions and consult with their healthcare practitioner if they have any concerns.

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
M:0408256381 E:

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy.

1.Editorial. Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Annals of Internal Medicine. Published online 17 December 2013.
2.Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey, October 2012.
3.Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009. 2007-08 National Health Survey: Summary of Results.
4.Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010. Australia's Health 2010. Australia's health series no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW
5.Meyer BJ, Kolanu N. Australian children are not consuming enough long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for optimal health. Nutrition. 2011 Nov-Dec; 27(11-12):1136-40.
6.National Secondary Students' Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey 2009-10 is jointly funded by the state Cancer Councils, Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Published in 2011.