Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?

Can taking vitamins help prevent heart disease or a heart attack?

Updated: 04-21-2011

Answer

It's uncertain whether taking vitamins can reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. However, no matter what type of vitamins you take, vitamins won't prevent the development of heart disease if you don't control your other risk factors, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Some researchers think that certain vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, may reduce your heart disease risk. These vitamins may help prevent low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol from producing plaques that can narrow your heart's arteries. The evidence for this benefit is limited, and the American Heart Association doesn't recommend taking vitamin C and E supplements as a way to prevent heart disease.

Another vitamin that might improve your heart health is vitamin D. There's some evidence that vitamin D improves the health of your blood vessels, but nothing conclusive yet. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your vitamin D level.

Vitamins can be an option for some people, especially if you're not getting enough nutrition from your diet. However, most generally healthy people don't need to take a daily vitamin because they get all the nutrients they need from their food. If you're concerned about your nutrition and diet, talk with your doctor about whether taking a daily vitamin might be a good option for you.