Multivitamins don’t reduce heart disease risk, even in people who have poor diets, study finds

BOSTON — To multivitamin or not to multivitamin — that continues to be the question.

Three years after a doctors used a trio of studies to emphatically declare that people who take a multivitamin daily were wasting their money, a new study adds to their argument by finding no link to heart disease risk — even when people have poor diets.

Vitamins and multivitamins
A new study finds that multivitamins have no effect on cardiovascular risk — even in people who don’t consume nutritious diets.

Researchers looked at the Physicians’ Health Study II (PHS II) — the only major longitudinal, randomized study that examines the link between multivitamins and cardiovascular disease risk. Participants — some 14,000 male physicians over 50 — of the study showed no raised or reduced risk of the disease 11 years after the study began, compared to those who took a placebo.

The latest analysis of the study examined 13,316 participants who completed in-depth food frequency questionnaires. The team sought to determine whether or not those who exhibited unhealthier dietary conditions would find more benefit to multivitamins than those who already enjoyed a nutritious diet.

Data included a complete breakdown of food the participants ate — from produce to red meats to whole grains — along with eating habits and patterns, and supplements or nutrients they consumed.

Once again, however, the team found that poor nutrition made no difference in the effect of daily multivitamin consumption on cardiovascular disease risk or overall mortality.

“Intuitively, many had thought that men with ‘poor’ nutritional status at baseline may benefit more from long-term multivitamin use on cardiovascular outcomes; however, we did not see any evidence for this in our recent analysis,” says corresponding author Dr. Howard Sesso of the Division of Preventive Medicine and the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in a press release.

“Given the continued high prevalence of multivitamin use in the US, it remains critical for us to understand its role on nutritional status and other long-term health outcomes through clinical trials such as PHS II and other new research initiatives,” he adds.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Cardiology.


  1. Around 95% of multi vitamins around have no benefit for people for one reason or another. The only question I have is did they use these vitamins (ie Walmart’s multi vitamin) or did they use one of the few quality multi vitamins? My guess is they used one of the ones which had already been proven to be worthless, as they are more common/cheap. If they used one of the few out there that receive good ratings, would the results be the same?

    1. Exactly! Here is part of your answer, & it is just as you suspect, a crappy multi:
      “The Physicians’ Health Study II was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial testing multivitamin use (multivitamin [Centrum Silver] or placebo daily) among US male physicians.” (See link in story to a new study.)

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