A new study supported by the National Institutes of Health has found that, for women, taking multivitamin-mineral supplements (MVMs) is associated with a significant decrease in the risk of dying from heart disease. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study looked at data on MVM and multivitamin (MV) use for 8,678 people—both men and women. The data came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), a government program used to assess the nutritional status of adults and children in the US. Researchers also looked at mortality data about 20 years after the NHANES information was collected using the National Death Index in order to see which NHANES participants had died. Here’s what the researchers concluded:
People who took MVMs, but not an MV, for more than three years reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by a whopping 35%. The difference between MVMs and MVs is that MVMs contain minerals in addition to vitamins.
The correlation between MVMs and the reduced risk of dying from heart disease was primarily due to a significant decrease in risk for women, which held true even after researchers adjusted for the women’s age, race, education, body mass index, alcohol, aspirin use, serum lipids, blood pressure, and blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin levels.
Men who took MVMs did not show a significant reduction in the risk of dying from heart disease.
While this study was observational and therefore can only show a correlation, not cause-and-effect, it is still encouraging news for women. Further, the results are consistent with other benefits linked to MVM supplements; for example, one trial found that taking an MVM reduced the recurrence of cardiovascular events in patients not also taking statins by 38%. Another highly-regarded randomized trial found that taking MVMs reduced the risk of cancer incidence in men by 8%.
Source: Journal of Nutrition