Daily multi-vitamin supplementing lowers cardiovascular risk, according to study

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A daily multi-vitamin may protect men from cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke in the long-term, according to a new study tracking 20 years of vitamin use.

The heart study discovered a 44% lower risk of major cardio vascular disease events over the 20 years of the study; however the study demonstrated no heart health benefit for a shorter research period of 12 years.

The research was complied from data on 18, 530 male physicians participating in the Physician’s Health Study (PHS).

The PHS started in 1982 and is the only large-scale, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the long-term effects of a common multi-vitamin in the prevention of chronic disease.

Different areas of research within the main study have been published at different times. In fact, an earlier paper on the study reported that multi-vitamin participants reduced their risk of cancer by 8% with daily use.

The study was a cooperative research project by scientists from Bringham and Women’s Hospital (Boston), Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Although our results suggest that continuous multi-vitamin use over a longer duration may be significantly associated with a lower risk of major CVD, the low number of cases supporting these results indicates that they should be interpreted with caution,” wrote the researchers in The Journal of Nutrition.

Notwithstanding these comments, the researchers also noted that other “observational studies” have also reported cardiovascular benefits among the long-term multi-vitamin users.

The researchers noted that hypothetically vitamins and minerals my be impacting on a number of potential mechanisms that protect heart health. The long list the researchers noted included:

  • Protecting low-density lipoproteins from oxidative damage
  • Boosting homocysteine metabolism
  • Reducing endothelial dysfunction.

Commenting on the paper and its findings, Dr. Duffy MacKay, Sr VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, stated:

Multi-vitamins are clearly one component of a healthy lifestyle, and we would expect subtle effects over time.

When you look at the mechanisms proposed, it’s clear that nutrients would plan an important role. These vitamins and minerals are not treating any of these issues, but if you’re insufficient or deficient then you’re challenging the body on maintaining the systems.

We couldn’t agree more.

Sources: NutraIngredients.com, The Journal of Nutrition.

Additional study details here.