The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Vitamins and Supplements Study

CRP is an acronym for C-reactive protein which is a protein produced by the liver and found in the blood. CRP is a marker for systemic inflammation, which may occur due to injury, infection, or fever. Because elevated CRP levels are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, we sought to determine whether multivitamin supplementation with Cooper Complete® reduces CRP levels in our Vitamin and Supplement Study.

We measured the effects of six vitamins, namely C, E, B6, B12, folate, and beta carotene, within a 24-ingredient multivitamin/mineral formula, the Cooper Complete® Vitamin, and found both vitamin B6 and vitamin C significantly reduced CRP levels compared with those participants who took a placebo. More specifically, we found following multivitamin supplementation, the prevalence of patients with a high risk C-reactive protein level (>3.0 mg/L) reduced from 30% to 14%. The average change in the patients' CRP levels over the course of six months was 0.70 mg/L. The greatest reduction in CRP levels was seen in patients whom initially had elevated CRP levels. As such, use of a commercially available multivitamin was found to significantly reduce C-reactive protein levels.

Table 1. Prevalence of Patients with High Risk C-Reactive Protein Level (>3.0 mg/L)
Before/After Placebo Multivitamin
Beginning of the study 27% 30%
End of the study (6 months later) 32% 14%

We demonstrated two further benefits from six months of multivitamin supplementation. First, we showed that six months of supplementation significantly increased plasma vitamin levels, namely vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, as further evidenced below in Table 2.

Table 2. Change in Plasma Vitamin Concentration Following Six Months of Multivitamin Supplementation
Vitamin Percentage Increase
Folic Acid 47%
Beta Carotene 51%
Vitamin B12 55%
Vitamin C 69%
Vitamin E 97%
Vitamin B6 272%

Second, we found a significant reduction in LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein, "bad cholesterol") oxidation and in homocysteine levels which are risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. To this end, we found an 14.6% reduction in LDL oxidation rate, which may be attributed to vitamin E, vitamin C, and lycopene. A reduction in LDL oxidation rate is significant because oxidation, or the addition of oxygen to low-density lipoproteins, contributes to atherosclerosis and may ultimately lead to further progression of heart disease.

Further, we found a 17.2% reduction in circulating homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood, and elevated levels are linked to heart disease, atherosclerosis ("hardening" of the arteries), stroke, colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease. It has been shown that homocysteine levels are strongly influenced by dietary intake and genetic factors, and through our research, we found that a multi-ingredient vitamin formula, which particularly includes folic acid and vitamin B12, favorably influences homocysteine levels in blood.

Our findings in our Vitamin and Supplement Study show the favorable effects on homocysteine and CRP levels in the blood as well as the anti-oxidant properties of complex multivitamin supplementation.


Authorship Publication  
Church TS, Earnest CP, Wood KA, Kampert JB. Reduction of C-reactive protein levels through use of a multivitamin. Am J Med. 2003 Dec 15;115(9):702-7. Read Abstract
Earnest CP, Wood KA, Church TS. Complex multivitamin supplementation improves homocysteine and resistance to LDL-C oxidation. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Oct;22(5):400-7. Read Abstract