Ageing is associated with an increased risk of infection. So, as the number of elderly people in developed nations continues to rise, there has been great interest in the use of supplements to help prevent infections.
Researchers identified eight trials evaluating the effect of multivitamin and mineral supplements on infections in elderly people. Although three studies reported fewer days spent with infection, overall the evidence was weak and conflicting.
The evidence does not support a policy recommending the routine use of such supplements in all elderly people, say the authors. However, the results are sufficiently encouraging to warrant further and more expansive studies in this area of considerable public health importance.