Article by Garrett Schaffel, AARP

“Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements that people may take to support their cardiovascular health do not actually help at all, according to a new study.

Researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto analyzed vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; beta-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also included multivitamins, defined in the study as supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.

More than 70 percent of Americans 60 and older use at least one dietary supplement, according to data published in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. And 29 percent of older Americans use four or more supplements per day.

After analyzing study results published in English from January 2012 through October 2017, including those from 179 randomized clinical trials, researchers found no evidence that most of the vitamins and minerals — including multivitamins, vitamins C and D, and calcium, the most popular supplements in the U.S. — help prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke or premature death.

“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” David Jenkins, M.D., the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm — but there is no apparent advantage, either.”

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