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 reduce the risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. But, what is known is that no vitamin can prevent the development of heart disease if you don't control your other risk factors, such as a poor diet, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Some studies have suggested that certain vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, may reduce heart disease risk, but larger clinical trials haven't shown a benefit. The American Heart Association doesn't recommend taking either vitamin as a way to prevent heart disease.

There's some evidence of a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and heart disease. However, most research has shown that taking vitamin D with or without calcium doesn't lower the risk of heart disease or it's complications. Talk to your health care provider if you're concerned about your vitamin D level.

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

Or, better yet, add nutrient-rich foods — such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy oils, whole grains and at least two servings of fish weekly — to your diet to help protect your heart. Limit salt, trans fats and saturated fats.

Jan. 13, 2022 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Angina
  2. Atkins Diet
  3. Automated external defibrillators: Do you need an AED?
  4. Blood Basics
  5. Blood tests for heart disease
  6. Bradycardia
  7. Screenings of newborns and athletes for genetic heart disease
  8. Transplant Advances
  9. Butter vs. margarine
  10. Calcium supplements: A risk factor for heart attack?
  11. Cardiac ablation
  12. Infographic: Cardiac Ablation
  13. Cardiac amyloidosis — Treatment options
  14. Cardiac amyloidosis — What is amyloid and how does it affect the heart
  15. Cardiac catheterization
  16. Cardioversion
  17. Chelation therapy for heart disease: Does it work?
  18. Chest X-rays
  19. Complete blood count (CBC)
  20. Coronary angiogram
  21. Coronary angioplasty and stents
  22. Coronary artery bypass surgery
  23. Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern?
  24. Cough
  25. CT scan
  26. Daily aspirin therapy
  27. Dizziness
  28. Don't get tricked by these 3 heart-health myths
  29. Echocardiogram
  30. Ejection fraction: What does it measure?
  31. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  32. Heart transplant to treat dilated cardiomyopathy: Elmo's story
  33. Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease?
  34. Exercise and chronic disease
  35. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
  36. Fatigue
  37. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
  38. Flu shots and heart disease
  39. Grass-fed beef
  40. Healthy eating: One step at a time
  41. Healthy Heart for Life!
  42. Heart arrhythmia
  43. Heart attack
  44. Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
  45. Heart attack symptoms
  46. Heart Attack Timing
  47. Heart disease
  48. Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
  49. Heart disease and oral health
  50. Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
  51. Heart murmurs
  52. Heart transplant
  53. Herbal supplements and heart drugs
  54. Holter monitor
  55. Honey: An effective cough remedy?
  56. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
  57. Leg swelling
  58. Limit bad fats, one step at a time
  59. Mediterranean diet
  60. Mediterranean diet recipes
  61. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  62. Need a snack? Go nuts!
  63. NSAIDs: Do they increase my risk of heart attack and stroke?
  64. Nuclear stress test
  65. Numbness
  66. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  67. Omega-3 in fish
  68. Omega-6 fatty acids
  69. Infographic: Organ Donation Donate Life
  70. Organ transplant in highly sensitized patients
  71. Pacemaker
  72. Pericardial effusion
  73. Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
  74. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
  75. Pseudoaneurysm: What causes it?
  76. Pulmonary edema
  77. Put fish on the menu
  78. Red wine, antioxidants and resveratrol
  79. Shortness of breath
  80. Silent heart attack
  81. Sitting risks: How harmful is too much sitting?
  82. Mediterranean diet
  83. Vegetable recipes
  84. Guide to gourmet salt
  85. Heart disease prevention
  86. Stress symptoms
  87. Stress test
  88. Tachycardia
  89. The Last Brother's Heart
  90. Integrative approaches to treating pain
  91. Nutrition and pain
  92. Pain rehabilitation
  93. Self-care approaches to treating pain
  94. Trans fat
  95. Triathlete Transplant
  96. Coronary angioplasty
  97. Video: Heart and circulatory system
  98. What is meant by the term "heart age"?
  99. Whole grains for a healthy heart
  100. Infographic: Women and Heart Disease