Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Medical | By

Multivitamins a waste of money for heart health, researchers say

Multivitamins a waste of money for heart health, researchers say

Their new report reviewed 18 previous studies on multivitamins that tracked more than 2 million people for an average of 12 years.

Americans spent an estimated $36.1 billion on vitamins and nutritional supplements in 2017, and many believe that MVM supplements maintain and promote health by preventing various diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

In the United States, about 76 percent of adults, or more than 170 million people, take multivitamins and minerals, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

This means that the market, especially online, is flooded with "fake" medications and supplements.

They found multivitamins do not prevent heart attacks, strokes, or death from cardiovascular disease.

"There is no scientific evidence that (these) supplements promote cardiovascular health", lead author Dr. Joonseok Kim from University of Alabama at Birmingham told Reuters Health by email.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, unlike drugs, there are no provisions in the law for the agency to "approve" dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer, nor can the product's label make health claims to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent a disease. That followed a 2013 paper entitled "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements" in which researchers warned the pills not only have no benefit, and could in fact do harm.

In CRN's response, the association's senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, Duffy MacKay, ND, said that "the findings of this new meta-analysis do not discount the multivitamin's many benefits".

"I would like to encourage people to discuss the use of MVM supplements with their physicians and reallocate their resources to something that is proven to improve cardiovascular outcomes, such as fruit and vegetable intake and exercise".

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from 18 previously published studies that looked at the link between multivitamins and mineral supplements and the risk of certain cardiovascular problems. Neither group advises using these multivitamin and mineral supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease. He noted that upwards of 100 million American men and women take vitamins or supplements "frequently based on the misguided belief that doing so can improve their heart and vascular health".

When the research team of investigators from Johns Hopkins and other universities combined all the data, they found no statistical associations between multivitamin supplements and CVD mortality, CHD mortality, stroke mortality, or stroke incidence. "These include a heart-healthy diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, controlling blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and when needed, medical treatment", Kim said.

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