Vitamins and related supplements are useful in the case of outright deficiency, but the scientific consensus is that they don’t provide benefits when it comes to the progression of aging. In the case of antioxidants, they might even be modestly harmful. This data has proven to be a hard sell with the public, particularly given the existence of a very vocal marketplace of sellers willing to declare all sorts of beneficial outcomes to result from their products, regardless of the evidence. Nonetheless, it is hard to argue with the weight of evidence.
Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements does not prevent heart attacks, strokes, or cardiovascular death, according to a new analysis of 18 studies. The research team performed a “meta-analysis,” putting together the results from randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies totaling more than 2 million participants and having an average of 12 years of follow-up. They found no association between taking multivitamin and mineral supplements and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
“It has been exceptionally difficult to convince people, including nutritional researchers, to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don’t prevent cardiovascular diseases. I hope our study findings help decrease the hype around multivitamin and mineral supplements and encourage people to use proven methods to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases – such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, and avoiding tobacco.”
Controversy about the effectiveness of multivitamin and mineral supplements to prevent cardiovascular diseases has been going on for years, despite numerous well-conducted research studies suggesting they don’t help. “Although multivitamin and mineral supplements taken in moderation rarely cause direct harm, we urge people to protect their heart health by understanding their individual risk for heart disease and stroke and working with a healthcare provider to create a plan that uses proven measures to reduce risk.” The American Heart Association does not recommend using multivitamin or mineral supplements to prevent cardiovascular diseases.