New Study Shows that Multivitamins May Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack

August 1, 2003

People taking low dose multivitamins may reduce the risk of getting heart attacks, say Swedish researchers.

There has been much debate about, whether antioxidants like Vitamins C and E may protect against coronary diseases, as several scientific studies have not yet supported this theory.

But scientific results from the Stockholm Heart Epidemiological Programme (SHEEP) has shown, that both Swedish men and women who took multivitamins had a significant lower risk of getting blood clots in the heart than those who did not take supplements, no matter which diets they were on.

The team of the Swedish Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied a group of Swedish people between 45 and 70 years old from an area, where the intake of fruit and vegetables is relatively low, and where food products are not enriched with folic acid.

Nearly 1,300 people (910 men and 386 women) earlier having experienced a heart attack were compared (for sex, age and local hospital area) with a control group consisting of 1,685 people (1143 men and 542 women).

According to the scientists in this months’ Journal of Nutrition, 57% of the women and 35% of the men in the control group took supplements; the corresponding cases of heart attacks were 42% and 27%. 80% of these supplements were multivitamin tablets.

After an adjustment for risk factors of heart and coronary disease, the risk of heart attacks were 21% lower for those men taking supplements, compared to the ones who did not. For the women the risk was reduced with 33%.

This observation seems to exclude the theory that vitamins found in fruit and vegetables are more effective than through intake of supplements.

By: Per Tork Larsen, DSOM

Journal of Nutrition 133:2650-2654, August 2003.