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A daily multi-vitamin / mineral combination (MVM) may reduce the risk of infectious illness in healthy individuals, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, and Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Diabetics can gain even greater protection from infectious illness with the use of a daily MVM, according to the study. A group of 130 adults aged 45 to 64 took a MVM or a placebo daily for one year. The group included 51 participants with Type-2 Diabetes.

Healthy participants taking the daily MVM reported fewer infections and days absent from work than those taking the placebo. Infection rates were 43% for the MVM group versus 73% in the placebo group. Work-absence rates were 21% in the MVM group and 57% in the placebo group. Diabetics taking the MVM reported more dramatic results, with only a 17% infection rate compared with 93% in the diabetic placebo group. Illnesses included influenza and gastrointestinal, respiratory, and urinary tract infections.

The study's authors surmised that the positive results for diabetics were likely due to the correction of micronutrient deficiencies. A larger clinical trial is needed to determine whether these findings can be replicated in diabetics and any nutritionally deficient populations. MVM supplementation may most benefit those in the developing world.

In June of 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association reversed its long-standing position and recommended that all adults take a daily Multi-Vitamin/Mineral combination.

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