Men who take daily multi-vitamin supplements for years have lower risks for serious heart disease issues, according to a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The link between supplement use and heart disease risk was compared in a group of 18,530 men aged 40-years-old and older from the Physicians’ Health Study. The men were free of heart disease and cancer at the study’s start, and no differences were noted between those men who already were supplementing and those who were not. At the 12.2-year follow-up, those men who had been taking a multivitamin for 20 years or more prior to the study’s start showed a 44% lower risk for serious heart disease problems, such as nonfatal heart attack, nonfatal stroke, and death from heart disease. They also were less likely to require bypass surgery (called cardiac revascularization).
In Perspective: This study takes the link between supplements and health to a new level by pushing the boundaries beyond just overall health to the prevention of this nation’s most serious health issue – heart disease. It just makes sense that taking a moderate-dose multi vitamin supplement should help lower heart disease risk, since many of the nutrients typically low in the American diet are important for lowering heart disease risk. For example, the B vitamins – folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 – help lower a compound called homocysteine in the blood that is associated with inflammation and disease risk. This study provides solid evidence that filling in these nutrient-deficient gaps by taking a multivitamin is an important piece in the prevention puzzle, at least for men.
Rautiainen S, Rist P, Glynn R, et al: Multivitamin use and the risk of cardiovascular disease in men. The Journal of Nutrition 2016; 146:1235-1240.