By TAP Integrative

Multivitamins are widely accepted as beneficial for health. So much so that more than one-third of all American adults report taking them daily. One of the main areas of potential benefit of taking a multivitamin—most of which provide a range of low-dose vitamins and minerals in line with recommended daily allowances (RDAs)—is in promoting heart health. Multivitamins have been shown to protect against oxidative damage, lower blood concentrations of homocysteine and inflammatory markers, and improve blood vessel function.

But while research has shown that multivitamins have an effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors, studies linking them to cardiovascular disease endpoints have been sparse and conflicting. One study, using data from the very large Women’s Health Study cohort, found no association between self-reported multivitamin use and nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or cardiovascular disease death. Other studies have found associations between multivitamin use and decrease incidence of certain cardiovascular events.

In an attempt to clarify the relationship between multivitamin use and cardiovascular events, a team of Boston researchers published a study in the Journal of Nutrition in 2016. Their goal was to evaluate whether multivitamin use was associated with risk of specific cardiovascular endpoints—myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular disease death—in a long-term, prospective cohort study.

The researchers studied 18,530 male physicians over the age of 40 who had neither cardiovascular disease nor cancer. The participants reported on lifestyle and clinical factors, as well as their intake of certain supplements. The researchers followed up for a mean of 12.2 years and found that the men who reported using multivitamins for 20 years or more had a lower risk of major cardiovascular events.

The study did not find that overall multivitamin use at baseline was associated with any significant difference in cardiovascular events, suggesting that in order to have an effect, multivitamins must be used long-term. Furthermore, this association was strongest in men with BMI > 25. Men who took multivitamins who also had a history of diabetes did not benefit from reduced cardiovascular events. Limitations of this study include the fact that the study did not standardize the multivitamin and relied on self-reporting. Also, other preventive lifestyle factors that may be associated with multivitamin may have confounded this association. Nonetheless this prospective study suggests cardiovascular disease prevention benefits from long-term multivitamin use.


Rautiainen S, Rist PM, Glynn RJ, Buring JE, Gaziano JM, Sesso HD. Multivitamin use and the risk of cardiovascular disease in men. J Nutr. 2016 Apr 27. pii: jn227884. [Epub ahead of print]


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.