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Women's Heart Health: Multivitamin Can Decrease Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

According to a new study published in Journal of Nutrition, multivitamins can help reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Some recent studies have been negative towards multivitamins, particularly with men, but may have been missing a key ingredient.

Large NIH Study on Multivitamins

Dr. Michael Smith points out that most studies on supplements were relatively short-term, while the new study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) analyzed data spanning more than three years. The research found a significant reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease among multivitamin users who took supplements for three or more years, compared to those who took few supplements or none at all. All data was taken from an NHANES survey that included close to 4,500 women.

Slow Multivitamins vs. Fast-Acting Drugs

Long-term use is the most appropriate way to study supplements, believes Dr. Smith. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all need time to work on the body, and don’t have the quick changes that potent drugs and medications can cause – one of the reasons there are few, if any side effects associated with taking multivitamins.

As Dr. Smith points out, “If you have high blood pressure, I can give you a drug called a beta blocker, and I can see results pretty quickly.” Using beta blockers can bring your blood pressure down quickly, but when there is a quick drop in the body, there has to be an opposite reaction. This is how side effects can stem from medications, but a slow, progressive supplementation will allow your body to better cope with the added vitamins and minerals.

The Nutrition Business Journal interviewed Duffy MacKay, a naturopathic physician and senior vice president for the Council of Responsible Nutrition. On the study, MacKay says, “we find these results encouraging, and they provide another potential reason for women to take their multivitamins, but people should not expect that taking a multivitamin in and of itself will prevent heart disease. We advise people to take their vitamins as just one of the smart choices they make for good health.”

While a multivitamin by itself won’t necessarily have a huge impact on your cardiovascular health, taking them alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise can bring numerous benefits with it. Remember that it should be a long-term commitment, as the benefits may not show until years later. Still, Dr. Smith recommends finding the right multivitamin for you, and sticking with it. Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body.

You might be aware of all the ways you can keep your heart healthy and prevent serious damage, like exercising and staying away from high-calorie, processed foods.

Now, a new study suggests that women who take a multivitamin reduce their risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The study looked at data from the NHANES survey taken by 8,678 adults that were 40 years of age and older, excluding those who have a history of cardiovascular disease. Women who had been taking a multivitamin mineral dietary supplement for at least three years when they answered the survey had a 35 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease over those women who didn't take the supplement.

Why else should you consider taking a multivitamin?

In the accompanying audio segment, Dr. Mike discusses the results of this study and why you should consider incorporating a multivitamin into your nutritional regimen.

Alonso is a long-time health and wellness advocate who loves to write about it. His writing spans the scope of blogs, educational magazines, and books, both on and offline.