Multivitamins do not promote cardiovascular health

Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements does not prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular death, according to a study.

"We meticulously evaluated the body of scientific evidence. We found no clinical benefit of multivitamin and mineral use to prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular death," said Joonseok Kim, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama in the US.

The researchers performed a "meta-analysis," putting together the results from 18 individual published studies, including randomised controlled trials and prospective cohort studies, totalling more than two million participants and having an average of 12 years of follow-up.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, found no association between taking multivitamin and mineral supplements and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.

"It has been exceptionally difficult to convince people, including nutritional researchers, to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent cardiovascular diseases," said Kim.

"I hope our study findings help decrease the hype around multivitamin and mineral supplements and encourage people to use proven methods to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases - such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising and avoiding tobacco," said Kim.

Controversy about the effectiveness of multivitamin and mineral supplements to prevent cardiovascular diseases has been going on for years, despite numerous well-conducted research studies suggesting they do not help.

The researchers set out to combine the results from previously published scientific studies to help clarify the topic.

"Although multivitamin and mineral supplements taken in moderation rarely cause direct harm, we urge people to protect their heart health by understanding their individual risk for heart disease and stroke and working with a healthcare provider to create a plan that uses proven measures to reduce risk.

"These include a heart-healthy diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, controlling blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and when needed, medical treatment," Kim said.

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Multivitamins do not promote cardiovascular health

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