Multivitamins Don't Reduce Heart Disease Risk, Says Study


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A new study has found that daily multivitamin use does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in men. The findings were presented this week at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. A similar study last month did find that multivitamins can reduce the risk of cancer in men by 8%.

"The findings from our large clinical trial do not support the use of a common daily multivitamin supplement for the sole purpose of preventing cardiovascular disease in men," said Howard Sesso, lead author of the new study and an associate epidemiologist in the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). "The decision to take a daily multivitamin should be made in consultation with one's doctor and consideration given to an individual's nutritional status and other potential effects of multivitamins, including the previously reported modest reduction in cancer risk."

The study looked at almost 15,000 men over the age of 50, following them for over 10 years. The men were randomly assigned to take a multivitamin or a placebo daily. Comparing the two groups, researchers fount no significant difference in the risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular mortality. Additionally, the multivitamin had no effect on the participants who already had a history of heart disease, or those who did not.

"Since so many Americans take daily multivitamins, studies like this are key to providing us with valuable information about what specific benefits multivitamins do or do not provide in terms of their long-term impact on chronic diseases," said Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, chief of the Division of Aging at BWH. "For cardiovascular disease, we must continue to emphasize a heart-healthy diet, physical activity, smoking cessation and regular screening for cardiovascular risk factors."