Multivitamins don’t do much of anything for heart health. At least that’s what the findings from a recent meta-analysis study say. The results were published last month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The Study Analyzed More Than Just Multivitamins

The study summarized the findings of 179 individual studies on the benefits of supplementation, heart health, and other serious illness. They found little evidence to suggest that taking multivitamins, calcium, vitamin C, or vitamin D supplements reduces the risk of heart disease or increases lifespan.

Deaths from cancer, cardiovascular complications, and age-related mortalities were considered. Researchers evaluated the benefits of iron, zinc, selenium, and several types of vitamin B as well. Conclusive evidence of benefits was difficult to find.

Should You Even Bother Taking A Multivitamin?

According to Dr. Edward L. Giovannucci, one of the study’s co-authors, “although there are no clear-cut benefits, use of a multivitamin is reasonable.” Multivitamins provide nutritional insurance to fill in any gaps left from a less than perfect diet.

A lack of conclusive findings doesn’t mean a lack of health benefits entirely. It just means that out of the 179 studies considered in the meta-analysis, reductions in death and serious disease could not be established.

Some Of The Studies Were Flawed

Don’t give up on multivitamins just yet. According to Amy Hess-Fischl, a nurse educator at the Kovler Diabetes Center at the University of Chicago Medicine,  “Some of the studies they reviewed had some problems, such as not enough subjects or inconclusive findings.”

Many of the studies didn’t take into consideration co-factors like poor lifestyle habits that impact rates of disease. Other research contradicts the lack of benefits of vitamins. Hess-Fischl notes that some studies have found that folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The safest bet is to eat plenty of dense leafy greens, clean protein, and healthy fat. Top it all off with a quality multivitamin for good measure.