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CRN: Multivitamins Are to Fill Nutrient Gaps, Not Prevent Serious Disease


A new meta-analysis, “Association of Multivitamin and Mineral Supplementation and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease,” was published online July 10 in the journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham performed a meta-analysis, putting together the results from 18 individual published studies, including randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies, totaling more than two million participants and having an average of 12 years of follow-up. They found no association between taking multivitamin and mineral supplements and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.

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“We meticulously evaluated the body of scientific evidence,” said study lead author Joonseok Kim, MD, assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We found no clinical benefit of multivitamin and mineral use to prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular death.”

In response, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) issued the following statement:

“The multivitamin, the most widely used dietary supplement, has a critical place in promoting and preserving good health, and the findings of this new meta-analysis do not discount the multivitamin’s many benefits. 73 percent of Americans take a multivitamin as part of a healthy lifestyle,” stated Duffy MacKay, ND, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. “Government research has repeatedly demonstrated serious nutrient shortfalls among the U.S. population—a majority of Americans fail to achieve recommended levels of essential nutrients through food alone, and this ‘hidden hunger’ is especially prevalent among low-income Americans. A daily multivitamin is an affordable and convenient way to combat insufficient nutrient levels among all economic classes—for less than a dime a day, consumers can assure they are getting the recommended levels of nutrients essential to everyday life, activity, and body function.

CRN stresses that multivitamins fill nutrient gaps in our less-than-perfect diets and support a host of other physiological functions, but they are not intended to serve as magic bullets for the prevention of serious diseases. Cardiovascular disease in particular is multifactorial; it has many contributing causes, and a cardiovascular disease diagnosis should lead to comprehensive treatment. Consumers need to pursue a lifetime of many healthy habits to maintain a healthy heart. We encourage consumers with, or at risk of, cardiovascular disease to consult their health care practitioners about their dietary supplement use as well as their diets and daily activity levels.”

For more information, visit www.crnusa.org.