Multivitamins, mineral supplements do not prevent heart attacks, strokes

Vitamin supplements are available in many different forms

GETTYVitamin supplements are available in many different forms

The American Heart Association itself does not endorse the consumption of multivitamin or mineral supplements to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Other research has found multivitamins have no influence on the risk of common cancers, cardiovascular disease or total mortality in postmenopausal women.

That's based on the results of 18 studies. More than 2 million participants were involved in all of the studies. Eleven of the studies were from the United States.

"It has been exceptionally hard to convince people... to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent cardiovascular diseases", study lead author Dr. Joonseok Kim, an assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a statement.

They found multivitamins do not prevent heart attacks, strokes, or death from cardiovascular disease.

The finding is in line with guidelines from the American Heart Association, which does not recommend the use of multivitamins to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

As Kim and his colleagues point out, users of supplements tend to eat more fruits and vegetables than non-users.

"I would like to encourage people to discuss the use of MVM supplements with their physicians and reallocate their resources to something that is proven to improve cardiovascular outcomes, such as fruit and vegetable intake and exercise".

The findings of the new meta-analysis support the current supplement recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Forces (USPSTF) and the American Heart Association.

"If one does not have a confirmed vitamin deficiency, there is no role for vitamin/mineral supplements in cardiovascular disease prevention", he said.

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But Americans have been stubbornly slow in accepting that message. In May, a separate study concluded that three popular supplements provide no consistent health benefits.

Do you take multivitamins or mineral supplements?

Americans also spend around $21 billion on vitamin supplements every year.

It's important to note that this research doesn't suggest that vitamin or mineral supplements are useless in clinical cases where a patient actively needs those supplements.

In fact, both Kim and Fonarow believe supplements may actually do harm.

"We meticulously evaluated the body of scientific evidence", said Dr. Kim.

Cardiologists say things that have been shown to be heart healthy beyond a good diet include getting regular exercise and not smoking, as well as keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.

In CRN's response, the association's senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, Duffy MacKay, ND, said that "the findings of this new meta-analysis do not discount the multivitamin's many benefits".

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