Multivitamins did not lower the risk of major cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in middle-aged and elderly women, but additional studies are needed to clarify the role of these substances in CVD. These were the conclusions drawn by Susanne Rautiainen, PhD, and colleagues in a study published online ahead of print in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Use of multivitamin supplements has been growing in recent years in the United States, and these products have been hypothesized to help prevent CVD because they include a wide range of lower-dose vitamins and minerals, wrote the investigators.

The researchers chose a cohort of 37,193 women aged 45 years and older from the Women’s Health Study. At baseline, the women had no history of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, transient ischemic attack, or cancer other than nonmelanoma skin cancer. 

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During the follow-up period (mean 16.2 years), 1,493 cases of CVD developed; CVD was defined in the study as MI, stroke, or death due to CVD. When compared with no use, multivitamin use did not appear to lower the risks of major CVD events. Rautiainen and associates noted that more research is needed on the relationship between multivitamin use and CVD.