Prominent nutrition researchers reaffirm value of multivitamins

04 June 2014

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4 June 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today welcomed comments by four prominent US nutrition researchers about the benefits of multivitamins. The researchers published a letter in the latest edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine 1 in response to an editorial in the December issue of the same journal which claimed that multivitamins are unnecessary.2

ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Steve Scarff said: "The researchers argued that the original editorial 'ignored decades of nutrition research and diet monitoring of the US population to reach this misleading conclusion'.
"The researchers explained that multivitamins help to fill nutritional gaps and improve general health. They can play a key role in compensating for nutritional deficiency where one exists.

"Ideally, adults and children should be getting their essential nutrients from a healthy diet, but the reality is that many people are not meeting the recommended daily nutrient requirements.

"Repeated studies in Australia, as with the US, reveal that a large proportion of the population are not obtaining the recommended levels of essential nutrients.
"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.3
"The Australian Bureau of Statistics also reported that only 4-6 per cent of children aged between five and seventeen years consumed the recommended serves of vegetables each day.4 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. 5
"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.6 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," says Mr Scarff.7

Consumers are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional who can provide advice on nutritional needs and determine whether a multivitamin may be beneficial.

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 18,000 people with exports estimated at $1.2 billion 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. Frei, B. et al. Enough Is Enough. Annals of Internal Medicine. 3 June 2014, 160(11) pp741-812.
2. Editorial. Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Annals of Internal Medicine. Published online 17 December 2013.
3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey, October 2012.
4. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009. 2007-08 National Health Survey: Summary of Results.
5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010. Australia's Health 2010. Australia's health series no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW
6. 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.
7. 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.

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
M:0408 256 381 E: