Can taking vitamins help prevent heart disease or a heart attack?
Answers from Martha Grogan, M.D.
It's uncertain whether taking vitamins can reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. However, no vitamin will prevent the development of heart disease if you don't control your other risk factors, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Although earlier studies suggested that certain vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, may reduce your heart disease risk, larger clinical trials have not shown a benefit. The American Heart Association doesn't recommend taking vitamin C and E supplements as a way to prevent heart disease.
There's also some evidence of a relationship between low blood levels of vitamin D and heart disease, but more research is needed. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your vitamin D level.
Most people who are generally healthy and get the nutrients they need from their diets don't need to take a daily vitamin. If you're concerned about your nutrition, talk with your doctor about whether taking a daily vitamin might be a good option for you.
Mar. 01, 2014
- Tangney CC, et al. Nutritional antioxidants in coronary heart disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Vitamin-and-Mineral-Supplements_UCM_306033_Article.jsp. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Fletcher RH, et al. Vitamin supplementation in disease prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Meheid IA, et al. Vitamin D and cardiovascular disease: Is the evidence solid? European Heart Journal. In Press. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.