BACKGROUND: Multivitamins are a popular supplement taken to promote physical and mental health. During periods of stress, they may have a protective role for health and wellbeing, although the current evidence of their efficacy is mixed. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether multivitamin supplementation impacts psychological and inflammatory markers of women who are experiencing psychological distress. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS: An 8-week randomized controlled trial was conducted to assess changes in both psychological state and pro-inflammatory markers of patients receiving multivitamins or placebo. The sample comprised women who reported elevated psychological distress in the previous 4 weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Psychological state was assessed using Spielberger's State-Trait Personality Inventory to assess anxiety, curiosity, depression and anger. Pro-inflammatory markers comprised interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-5, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and TNF-β. RESULTS: Improvements across time were observed for all psychological measures and cytokines, except IL-5, but were independent of the active intervention. Only TNF-β demonstrated a significant differential change between groups over the course of the intervention, in favour of multivitamin supplementation (active group mean rank decreased from 11.1 to 7.1; placebo group mean rank decreased from 8.9 to 7.8). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that administration of multivitamins was not effective in improving psychological state. However, some evidence supported the positive impact of multivitamin supplementation on pro-inflammatory cytokine profiles of women currently experiencing stress.
- Psychological stress
- Randomized controlled trial