JAMA Study Finds No Heart Benefit with Multivitamins

November 29, 2012

No clear cardio benefits were observed in a trial on nearly 15,000 male physicians taking multivitamin or placebo.

New analysis is available from the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) II, a “gold standard” trial on nearly 15,000 male U.S. physicians taking multivitamin or placebo for over 10 years. This time, findings relate to multivitamin use and heart health.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston determined that “taking a daily multivitamin did not reduce major cardiovascular events,” including heart attack, stroke, and death by heart disease. Per 1000 person-years, multivitamin users experienced one slightly reduced risks of each condition compared to placebo.

“We’re not surprised by these results, but they don’t discount the many other benefits that multivitamins provide, including filling nutrient gaps, helping prevent neural tube birth defects, and serving in combination with other healthy habits as a basic and affordable insurance policy for overall wellness,” said Duffy MacKay, ND, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN. “Even though two weeks ago this same study demonstrated a modest but significant reduction in total cancer risk in this same population, no one should expect the multivitamin to wipe out all diseases known to man.”

The Physicians’ Health Study II was supported by National Institutes of Health grants.