A recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham supports findings from other studies showing that vitamin supplements do not lower the risk of heart disease. Among the supplements examined neither calcium or vitamin D, both of which are often recommended by physicians, have any clinical impact.
“We meticulously evaluated the body of scientific evidence,” said Dr. Joonseok Kim, assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“We found no clinical benefit of multivitamin and mineral use to prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular death,” he said.
The report, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, said that there was no association between multivitamin and mineral supplementation and cardiovascular disease mortality.
“It has been exceptionally difficult to convince people, including nutritional researchers, to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don’t prevent cardiovascular diseases,” Kim said.
“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.”
Additionally, a study from Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia suggests that vitamin supplements can sometimes cause harm. High amounts of vitamin A, for example, can cause liver damage and vitamin E might increase the risk of prostate cancer. Even calcium can damage the heart.
The American Heart Association says that prescription fish oil supplements can help some people with particular types of heart disease risks or conditions, but a heart-healthy diet, such as the DASH Diet, is the best way to reduce saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar and dietary cholesterol and ensure a proper balance of nutrients.