Can taking vitamins help prevent heart disease or a heart attack?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

It's not yet clear if taking vitamins can lower the risk of getting heart disease or having a heart attack. What is known is that no vitamin can prevent heart disease if you don't control your other risk factors. These include a poor diet, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Some studies suggest that certain vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamins C and E, may lower heart disease risk. But larger clinical trials haven't proved that. The American Heart Association and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force don't advise taking vitamins to prevent heart disease.

Some research shows a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and heart disease. But most research has shown that taking vitamin D with or without calcium doesn't lower the risk of heart disease or its complications. Talk to your health care professional if you have questions about your vitamin D level.

Most people who are healthy and eat a good diet don't need to take a daily vitamin. If you're worried about your nutrition, talk with your health care professional. Ask whether taking a daily vitamin might be good for you.

The best thing you can do is to add healthy foods to your diet to help protect your heart. Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy oils, whole grains and at least two servings of fish weekly. Limit salt, added sugars, trans fats and saturated fats.

July 21, 2023