(Reuters Health) - Taking multivitamins and minerals does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or associated deaths, according to a new review of existing research.
“There is no scientific evidence that (these) supplements promote cardiovascular health,” lead author Dr. Joonseok Kim from University of Alabama at Birmingham told Reuters Health by email. “We hope that our paper helps to settle the debate” on the use of multivitamins and minerals (MVM) for cardiovascular disease prevention.
Americans spent an estimated $36.1 billion on vitamins and nutritional supplements in 2017, and many believe that MVM supplements maintain and promote health by preventing various diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Most large-scale studies, however, have found no such benefit.
Kim’s team pooled evidence from 18 studies with more than 2 million participants to investigate associations between MVM supplementation and various cardiovascular problems, including coronary heart disease and stroke.
Use of MVM supplements was not associated with the risk of death from cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease, or stroke incidence or deaths, according to the report in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
MVM supplements were associated with a slightly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, but this difference was observed only in studies that did not account for fruit and vegetable intake and in studies conducted outside the U.S. The studies done in the U.S., and those that did factor in diet, found no statistically meaningful benefit from MVM supplements in preventing heart disease.
The results were consistent when researchers adjusted for other factors, such as follow-up duration, age, sex, physical activity, and so on.
“We learned from previous experiences that it is immensely difficult to influence the public when there is a strong preconception and commercial profits at stake,” Kim noted. “However, I belie