Multivitamins, vegan diet, all your vitamins, multivitamins no help, taking vitamin supplements

Are multivitamins no help against heart disease? Millions of Americans take multivitamins, perhaps as many as 40 percent of older adults. A new study suggests that mixed vitamin and mineral formulations are not effective for preventing heart disease (Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes , online July 10, 2018).

Multivitamins No Help for Heart Attack or Stroke Prevention:

The research, published in Circulation, was a meta-analysis including more than two million volunteers and 18 million person-years of follow-up. The analysis found no link between multi-vitamin and mineral supplements and death from cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. The scientists advise against taking multivitamins, not because they pose serious risks, but simply because they are not effective for preventing heart disease.

Other Research That Shows Multivitamins No Help for Heart:

This should come as no surprise. A similar meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology last month came to a comparable conclusion (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, June 2018). No doubt there was some overlap in the studies that were analyzed. A single vitamin, folic acid, was associated with a slightly lower risk of strokes and heart attacks in the JACC study.

Could Multivitamins Have Other Benefits?

What the authors did not address was the relationship between multivitamins and the chance of getting cancer. The Physicians’ Health Study, a randomized controlled trial (the gold standard), found a slightly lower risk of cancer among the volunteers taking multivitamins (JAMA, Nov. 14, 2012).

Of course, everyone agrees that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is desirable. For those who have a hard time following such a dietary pattern, however, a multivitamin is unlikely to do any harm and might make sense. Pregnant women and people taking medications that deplete the body of essential nutrients may get particular benefit from vitamin supplements. You can learn more about vitamin and mineral supplements from our interview with Dr. JoAnn Manson and Dr. Tieraona Low Dog. It is Show 1124: Should You Be Taking Vitamin Supplements?

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  1. Daniel
    Manteo, NC

    I have taken half a multi-vit daily for man years. I never considered my vitamins as protection against heart disease. I only take them to help ensure I’m getting enough of the vitamins and minerals I need.

    I eat well, but I still don’t know if my vit/min intake is complete and balanced. Since I read years ago that people who take multi-vitamins tend to die younger than those who don’t, I started taking only half a multi-vit daily. Seems reasonable to me.

    I don’t expect a multi-vit to make up for a poor diet. So, I try to eat sensibly every day and hope the multi-vit compliments my diet.

  2. Jeannette

    Reputable journals require authors to disclose funding sources and other financial interests, which are then displayed in the article text – I note that none were included in this study. Little disappointed that yet again another study ( stating disclosures as ‘none’ – someone must have funded it!

    While multi vits may be questionable, taking vitamins particular to your known deficiency has got to be more beneficial than doing nothing. While it may be preferable to get vitamins from food – not all food is equal (soil nutrient depletion etc means reduced nutrients in our food) just as not all vitamins are equal (careful sourcing is needed).

    Also as in many studies the particular multivitamin is not given (what it actually contains). Positive studies on vitamins are not beneficial to major pharmaceuticals (who I imagine fund the ‘studies’ – call me a cynic.

    This is just an example of a positive study for vitamin D:

    Due to the failure of pharma meds for osteoporosis vitamin K2 is now being studied (uk – King’s College and Guy’s and St Thomas NHS trust), but has known to be effective in Japan for years.

    There are a number of vit studies that have had negative outcomes but methodology has been criticised and funding remains a questionable factor.

    Everyone needs to do their own research. I remain open minded.


    1. Vitamins contribute to over-all health, especially those that leave the system rapidly, C, B’s, etc.

    2. Vitamins support the immune system, closing windows of opportunity to some cancers..

    3. Vitamins replace the vitamins that degenerate in ‘fresh’ fruits and vegetables that are transported to stores where they sit on shelves for days before being consumed. By then natural vitamins from these ‘healthy’ sources, such as vitamin E are long gone.

    4. A sensible regimen of A, B, C’s etc., add the vitamins lost to natural toxins in modern day life: pesticides, air pollution, indoor living and heavy tanning lotions, (lack of vitamin D processing), regular use of alcohol and stress.

    These are personal observations. At thriving ages 76 & 77 we are living testaments to the above. Of course we add another key element to our self-care – daily exercise.
    Vitamins won’t cure or prevent any one disease, but they will help to avoid them and increase over-all health.

  4. Jerry B

    Vitamins are not meant to help against heart disease. Vitamins and mineral supplements are taken to give the body nutrients people do not get from poor diets.

  5. Jim

    I do use and am currently using Melaleaca vitamin products. It appears this article is putting generic over the counter vitamins all in the same categories as vitamins that have proven track records that differ greatly as far as results.

    Please go to & review the findings & I believe you will be surprised.

    Thank you,
    John W. O

  6. Prunie22

    I’ll continue to take my multivitamins. Nobody eats everything they need to get all the nutrients. Also, I’ve lost faith in the medical community; especially cardiologists. They can’t even recognize when a woman is having heart problems. Women have atypical symptoms when it comes to the heart.

  7. Anna

    Multivitamins from good researched company is applicable to people who Donot eat daily fruits /veggies .Also people with cancer and other autoimmune diseases should take vitamins daily .Natural vitamins made from fruits and veggies are the best to be taken daily .Dr Anna

  8. GT

    The findings are unsurprising in that by far most available multi-vitamins utilize synthetic vitamins. These require the body to go thru various steps-sometimes more, sometimes less- as it tries to process these chemicals into some kind of usable form. The bioavailability of these chemicals appears to be very poor meaning little is absorbed.

    Vitamin supplements that will work, often dramatically, are whole food concentrates. Our bodies, after all, are designed for food with all its enzymes, co-factors, and even nutrients that have yet to be identified by science. There are organic whole food vitamin/mineral supplements available from Standard Process and others. [I have no association in any way with Standard Process other than using their supplements.]

    The depletion of nutrients in our soils and the practices of factory farming require good supplementation. High quality green and red organic powders may be useful.

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