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November 2012

Multivitamin Use May Not Reduce Heart Disease Risk in Men

A new study suggests that long-term multivitamin supplementation may not reduce the risk of heart disease in men.

Multivitamins are manufactured supplements that may contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Multivitamins are meant to provide individuals with the proper amounts and types of vitamin and mineral nutrients that the body needs. Supplemental multivitamins may benefit individuals who do not get enough vitamins and minerals from food, as well as people who have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food.

The kinds and amounts of nutrients in multivitamins vary widely. A typical multivitamin and mineral supplement may include some or all of the following: vitamins A, C, D, E, and K; biotin; B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12); folic acid; and the minerals calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.

In a new study, 14,641 men at least 50 years-old were randomly assigned to receive d a daily multivitamin or placebo from 1997 through 2011 to assess the potential relationship between multivitamin supplementation and heart disease risk. The outcome measures included the combined results of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, as well as heart disease-related death.

Over an average follow-up period of 11.2 years, 1,732 major cardiovascular events were identified. The researchers found that, compared to placebo, a significant association between daily multivitamin supplementation and the risk for a major cardiovascular event was lacking. Furthermore, the specific risk for stroke, heart attack or heart disease-related death was similar for both the multivitamin and placebo groups. Additionally, multivitamin use did not alter the risk of cardiovascular events for men with or without a history of heart disease.

The authors concluded that daily multivitamin use may not lower the risk of cardiovascular events or heart disease in men. Further research in this area is warranted.

In addition to multivitamins, many other therapies have been studied for their potential effects on heart disease risk. Omega-3 fatty acid consumption is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk markers. Further research is required to determine if the actual risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced in these populations. Additionally, early studies in animals and humans suggest that diets containing chia seed may decrease risk factors for heart disease. Evidence suggests that the benefits of Salbaź in humans are similar to those of other whole grains. Further study is needed.

For more information about integrative therapies for heart disease prevention, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.

For more information about multivitamins, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database

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  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Sesso HD, Christen WG, Bubes V, et al. Multivitamins in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men: the Physicians' Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Nov 7;308(17):1751-60. View Abstract
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited.