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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Long-term Use of Multivitamin-Multimineral Supplements Linked to Heart Health in Women

By Rachel Murphy

Are you one of the nearly 40% of Americans who uses a multivitamin-multimineral supplement? Multivitamin-multimineral supplements have been available since the early 1940s and are increasingly common. Numerous studies have shown that multivitamin-multimineral supplements help people meet nutrient gaps in the United States and worldwide. They also help promote health in people with low nutrient status. A timely study (February is Heart Month) suggests the same may be true for heart health in a general population.      

Bailey and colleagues used data from 8,678 men and women aged 40 and older in NHANES.  NHANES is unique because participants show study interviewers dietary supplement containers and labels. This means accurate data on use, dose, duration and frequency of supplements. This level of information is rarely available because of the time investment. Just thinking about collecting all that information from nearly 9,000 people makes my head spin! Individuals were classified by the length of time they used a multivitamin-multimineral supplement and followed for nearly 20 years to determine cardiovascular related deaths.

Women with long-term use (more than 3 years) of multivitamin-multimineral supplements had a 44% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease even after the researchers adjusted for other heart health risk factors. No benefit was observed with shorter term multivitamin-multimineral supplement use or with any length of use among men.

Changing health behavior is difficult. Women are already the predominant users of dietary supplements. Although this study does not imply causation, a link between multivitamin-multimineral supplement use and heart health in women is encouraging.

Main Citation

Bailey RL et al. Multivitamin-Mineral use is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease mortality among women in the United States.  J Nutr 2015 doi:10.3945/jn.114.204743

Other Citations

Gahche J et al. Dietary supplement use among U.S. adults has increased since NHANES III (1998-1994). NCHS data brief, no 61. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics 2011.  Available from:

Rock CL. Multivitamin-multimineral supplements: who uses them? Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:277S-279S