Multivitamins Not Associated with Heart Disease Prevention, Say Johns Hopkins Researchers

July 16, 2018

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (Washington, DC) said in a recent press release that 73% of U.S. residents take multivitamins, but these products are not intended to be used as magic bullets in the prevention of serious diseases.

Reporting in the journal Circulation, researchers at Johns Hopkins University say that a meta-analysis of 18 studies on more than 2 million people has found multivitamins and mineral supplements are not useful in preventing heart disease.1 The review was apparently inspired by a few isolated studies deeming multivitamin and mineral supplement use potentially beneficial for reducing stroke and heart disease risk.

In analyzing the combined data, the researchers determined that these products provided a net neutral effect on heart disease and stroke in studies where these were primary end points.

Researchers were unable to determine why U.S. studies showed no benefit whereas studies performed elsewhere did at times yield a benefit association. Four studies took place in Europe, three in Japan, and the remaining 11 in the United States.

One limitation of this study, the authors admit, is that the data they pulled came from studies using a variety of doses and supplement types.

Having considered multivitamins and mineral supplements not useful for heart disease, the team at Johns Hopkins did affirm that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower risks of heart disease and stroke. According to a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 87% of the US population does not satisfy government recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (Washington, DC) said in a recent press release that 73% of U.S. residents take multivitamins, but these products are not intended to be used as magic bullets in the prevention of serious diseases. Duffy MacKay, ND, the group’s senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, said in a public statement: “A daily multivitamin is an affordable and convenient way to combat insufficient nutrient levels among all economic classes-for less than a dime a day, consumers can assure they are getting the recommended levels of nutrients essential to everyday life, activity, and body function.”

Consumers should always be encouraged to seek the advice of their healthcare practitioners when taking dietary supplements as part of a healthy diet.

References:

  1. Kim J et al. “Association of multivitamin and mineral supplementation and risk of cardiovascular disease.” Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Published online ahead of print July 10, 2018.
  2. Moore LV et al. “Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations-United States, 2013.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 64, no. 26 (July 10, 2015).