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Supplements and heart disease

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. A team of American and Swiss researchers has reached the conclusion that supplementation with multivitamins, vitamin C or vitamin E does not significantly decrease the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Their study involved 83,639 male American physicians with no cancer or heart disease at study entry in 1983. After a mean follow-up of 5.5 years 1037 of the physicians had died from cardiovascular disease. The researchers found a slightly lower risk of death (8 per cent) for vitamin E users and vitamin C users (12 per cent), but no benefits for multivitamin users. The observed risk reductions were not statistically significant. Among the subgroup of vitamin users who took both vitamins C and E there was a risk reduction of 31 per cent for cardiovascular mortality, but again, this risk reduction was not statistically significant. The risk reduction tended to be greater among participants who took vitamin C or vitamin E if they had no major cardiovascular risk factors at baseline. The researchers conclude that their study shows "a suggestion of benefit" of vitamin use among those at low risk for heart disease. They emphasize that their results may not apply to poorly nourished populations where the benefits of supplementation could possibly be greater.
Muntwyler, Jorg, et al. Vitamin supplement use in a low-risk population of US male physicians and subsequent cardiovascular mortality. Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 162, July 8, 2002, pp. 1472- 76

Editor's comment: It is puzzling why it took over 14 years to publish the results of this study. Was it dug out to support the ongoing campaign by the medical/pharmaceutical industry to discredit vitamins?

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