Taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement may have beneficial effects on heart health. That’s the conclusion of a large review of data, involving over 18,500 male doctors, in which those who took a multivitamin and mineral supplement for at least 20 years were almost half as likely (44%) to experience a heart attack or stroke as those who did not take a multivitamin long-term.
Vitamins and heart health
During the follow-up period of just over 12 years, all cardiovascular events among this large group of American physicians (who were aged 40 or over) were recorded and their long-term use of vitamin and mineral supplements appeared to have significant protective effects on the heart and circulation.
A similar study, also published in the Journal of Nutrition, previously found that women who used multivitamins and minerals for at least 3 years had a 35% lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke than those not taking them.
The most likely reason is that a multivitamin acts as a nutritional safety net to prevent deficiencies of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium and magnesium, which are all important for a healthy heart, blood pressure and circulation. I suspect much of the benefits of this nutritional safety net come from obtaining good amounts of magnesium, intakes of which are often low in the modern, processed diet.
Lack of vitamins and minerals is associated with an increased risk of numerous long-term health problems, so taking a good quality supplement is a good idea if you have a high blood pressure.
When selecting a multivitamin you may want to select one which is tailored to your age. People over the age of 50 need more B vitamins, for example, due to reduced intestinal absorption, but also need less iron.
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