Long-term Multivitamin-mineral Use Tied to Women’s Heart Health
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Friday, April 10, 2015 12:00 AM

A new analysis of deaths from heart disease over more than 20 years finds that women who took multivitamin-mineral supplements for three years or more were significantly less likely to die.  The authors urge caution because the benefit was not seen among men using the supplements long-term, among women taking them for less than three years or in anyone taking just multivitamins without minerals.

“Our study suggests the possibility that there is such a connection for women, which is an interesting finding but to know for sure would require a clinical trial.” According to the authors multivitamin-mineral (MVM) products account for almost one-fifth of all purchases of dietary supplements and more than 40% of all sales of vitamin and mineral supplements. More than one-third of Americans take MVMs, spending about $ 5.5 billion each year on them.

For their study authors analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, conducted between 1988 and 1994.  Information on multivitamin or multivitamin-mineral use was available for almost 9,000 healthy adults, who were 40 years and older when they answered the surveys. About 21% of those participants who took dietary supplements used MVMs - defined as three or more vitamins plus one or more minerals – and 14% used multivitamins without minerals. The researchers followed the participants for an average of 18 years to find out how many died of cardiovascular disease.

Surveys show that supplement users in the U.S. tend to be better educated about healthy lifestyle habits so it’s possible that women who use MVM long term are just healthier in general.

“So this could also be a marker for other healthy behaviors which actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality,” he said.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/18/us-health-women-multivitamin-mineral-idUSKBN0LM1QS20150218