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Nutrient - Multivitamin use linked to heart protection

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

Multivitamin and mineral supplements are the most frequently used supplements in the Western world, where many people take them to help ensure an adequate nutrient intake. Most products contain a wide spectrum of nutrients, including antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and selenium; all of which have been inversely related to heart disease by previous research. Now, results from a recent Swedish study suggest women who take a daily multivitamin may be at reduced risk of having a heart attack. 

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigated the association between multivitamin use and heart attacks in a population of over 30,000 Swedish women between 49 and 83 years old. In the women with no history of cardiovascular disease, the researchers observed that use of multivitamins without other supplements was associated with a 27% lower risk of a heart attack, while women using multivitamins together with other supplements had a 30% lower risk. In addition, the association between multivitamin use and heart benefit was stronger among women using multivitamins for more than five years.

The researchers are now calling for further studies to evaluate, from a public health point of view, whether multivitamins should be recommended to prevent heart attacks and to find out which components of the multivitamins are responsible for the beneficial effects.

Article References

S. Rautiainen et al. Multivitamin use and the risk of myocardial infarction: a population-based cohort of Swedish women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010. [Epub ahead of print].

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