Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Search
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Men's Health | Men, Multivitamins and Heart Disease
Smiling Mature Man

The men taking a daily multivitamin were no more or less likely to experience a major cardiovascular event.

Men, Multivitamins and Heart Disease

Eating well is important for good health, yet many people feel they are falling short on making the best food choices. Multivitamins are a popular choice for filling in nutritional gaps, yet their exact effects on health remain difficult to pin down. Some studies show benefits, and others find either no benefit or even potential harm with regular multivitamin use. While recent evidence found that a daily multivitamin may lower risk of certain cancers, the same research finds no heart health advantage for men who take a basic, daily multivitamin.

Studying the doctors

Researchers randomly selected 14,641 male physicians to receive a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement or placebo for approximately 11 years. The physicians were 50 years or older, and 5 percent had a previous history of cardiovascular disease. Other factors, including age, height and weight, tobacco and alcohol use, diet, other medications, and family health history were similar in the supplement and placebo groups.

The multivitamin provided around 100 percent of the daily value for most essential vitamins and minerals, with a few exceptions. It contained no iron, and for vitamins E and B12, the multivitamin provided significantly more than 100 percent of the daily value. For vitamin K, biotin, calcium, magnesium and chromium, it provided significantly less than 100 percent. The supplement contained some additional nutrients, including lutein and lycopene.

For heart health, no benefit, no harm

The men taking a daily multivitamin were no more or less likely to experience a major cardiovascular event, including heart attack or stroke, or to die due to heart disease or any other cause, compared with the men who took a placebo. The effect of a daily multivitamin did not differ between men with or without a previous history of cardiovascular disease.

Smart choices

It is wise to avoid putting too much faith in any quick-fix approach to long-term health, though food, supplements, and lifestyle decisions may all be used as tools toward that objective.

  • Assess your goals. This same long-term study showed that men taking multivitamins have a lower risk of cancer, so if cancer is your concern, you still may want to consider a multivitamin.
  • Go low. If you take a multivitamin, steer clear of mega-doses unless supervised by a doctor; choose a balanced formula that contains no more than 100% of the daily value of most nutrients.
  • Ask the experts. A person’s diet may get out of balance for a variety of reasons, such as illness, nutrient depletion or malabsorption caused as a side effect of a drug or medical condition, or food intolerances and allergies. If this describes you, discuss your diet with your doctor or dietitian to identify specific nutrients that may be missing.
  • Put it in perspective. The study population was healthy, older males, most of whom don’t smoke, and many of whom eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. If you are a young male, a young or old female, or if you smoke, are obese, or have additional risk factors for heart disease, these findings may not apply to you. 
  • Live wisely. Regardless of whether you take a multivitamin, the best ways to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease include avoiding tobacco, drinking alcohol modestly or not at all, exercising regularly, eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

(JAMA 2012;308:1751–60)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered more than 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by The New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »



Bastyr Center Disclaimer
gif
gif

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

gif

Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »


Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University