A comprehensive analysis of published studies and clinical trials has found no benefit to cardiovascular health from multivitamin and mineral supplement use.
The study authors hope that this will settle the controversial debate about whether the use of multivitamin and mineral supplements is able to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
A paper on their findings is now published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
“Our study,” write the authors, “supports current professional guidelines that recommend against the routine use of [multivitamins and mineral] supplements for the purpose of [cardiovascular disease] prevention in the general population.”
They suggest that people focus instead on proven ways to promote heart health.
“These include a heart-healthy diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, controlling blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and when needed, medical treatment,” explains lead study author Joonseok Kim, an assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Multibillion dollar industry
Since use of multivitamins and mineral supplements in the United States took off in the 1940s, it has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. Estimates suggest that these are now taken by “more than one third” of the U.S. population.
The team attributes the popularity of multivitamins and mineral supplements to a widespread belief that they “may help maintain and promote health by preventing various diseases, including cardiovascular disease.”
Many studies have sought evidence to support this idea. The study authors cite several that have followed large groups over long periods as well as randomized controlled trials.
But the results have been inconclusive. Some of the studies that followed people over time have suggested that taking multivitamins and mineral supplements “may be beneficial for certain cardiovascular outcomes,” but most others show “no significant cardiovascular benefit.”