Multivitamins ‘won’t prevent heart disease deaths or strokes’

Adjust Comment Print

"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 health care provider to create a plan that uses proven measures to reduce risk", Kim said.

Researchers found no link between taking multivitamin and mineral supplements and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.

Americans routinely ignore this advice and gobble up supplements.

Rebecca McManamon, consultant dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said: "This reiterates the message that instead of supplements, in the United Kingdom we are still not all eating enough fruit and vegetables and we need to keep driving to eat more, as five portions a day or more are linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, as well as reducing risk of some cancers".

Millions of Americans take multivitamins as a quick fix for the nutrients missing from their diets.

Instead, people believe that they can make up for poor diets with supplements - something that has been disproven in several studies. Research has linked vitamin E supplements to an increased risk of prostate cancer, for example. Scientists found out that there was no correlation between consuming multivitamin and mineral supplements and low risk of demise from cardiovascular disorders.

But even doctors mistakenly recommend vitamin pills.

An editorial by Alyson Haslam and Vinay Prasad accompanying the latest metastudy presents a hypothesis to explain why vitamin supplements tend to not confer any general health benefits.

A strength of the new study is that it includes clinical trials, the findings of which are generally more reliable than population studies that rely heavily on data provided by participants, said Dr. Parag Joshi, a preventive cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Multivitamin and mineral supplementation neither hurts nor helps cardiovascular health, a meta-analysis showed.

Instead, "multivitamins fill nutrient gaps [and] are not meant to prevent cardiovascular disease", read a statement issued by the trade group, the Washington DC-based Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), today.

Otherwise, food is the best source of nutrients.

Dr. Susanne Rautiainen from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, who has extensively studied the use of MVM and disease prevention but was not involved in the review, told Reuters Health, "Hopefully the results influence physicians to not recommend multivitamins to their patients that are apparently healthy".

"There's just no substitute for a balanced, nutritious diet with more fruits and vegetables that limits excess calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar and dietary cholesterol".