Women_multivitamin640x400-150x150Women who take a multivitamin-mineral supplement (multivitamin) daily for three years or more have better heart health, a new study suggests.

The researchers evaluated a representative sample of adults 40 years and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) between 1988 and 1994. The participants completed detailed surveys regarding multivitamin and dietary supplement use and underwent a battery of physical, anthropometric and biochemical tests. The researchers also evaluated health and lifestyle behaviors.

They published the results of the six-year observational study in the Journal of Nutrition, concluding that they found no significant association between cardiovascular status and multivitamin use overall. However, they did find an association between multivitamin use of three years or more with cardiovascular health in women.

The researchers controlled for age, race, education, BMI, alcohol, aspirin, serum lipids, blood pressure, and other metabolic indicators.

Close to half of the US adult population reports using a daily dietary supplement with multivitamin ranking as the most commonly consumed (3,4). Previous studies have also shown that certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C, D, and E are positively associated with better cardiovascular health. In addition, adequate mineral status, such as magnesium, is positively associated with better cardiovascular health (5).

Decades of research specific to the use of multivitamin supplements exist; however, a definitive answer regarding heart health and longevity benefits is yet to come from randomised controlled trials (4). However, given that women reporting advanced levels of education and micronutrient-rich diets make up the largest demographic of daily multivitamin users, it may be that they also are more likely to engage in other heart-healthy habits such as exercising regularly and not smoking. Also, individuals with lower education levels and micronutrient-deficient diets tend to be the least likely to comply with daily multivitamin-mineral supplement use.

The newly published results now add additional weight to current evidence that use of supplements containing vitamins and minerals can support cardiovascular health. Free of supposition, other factors of a healthy lifestyle are required for optimal benefit that includes avoiding smoking, eating right, and exercising regularly.


  1. Bailey RL, Fakhouri TH, Park Y et al. Multivitamin-Mineral Use Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality among Women in the United States. J Nutr 2015;114.20474
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm
  3. Bailey RL et al. Dietary supplement use in the United States, 2003–2006. J Nutr 2010; jn-110.
  4. Huang HY et al. The efficacy and safety of multivitamin and mineral supplement use to prevent cancer and chronic disease in adults: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health state-of-the-science conference. Ann Intern Med 2006; 372-385.
  5. Muir KW. Magnesium in stroke treatment. J Postgrad Med 2002; 641-645.