- With Mayo Clinic cardiologist
Martha Grogan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Martha Grogan, M.D.Martha Grogan, M.D.
Dr. Martha Grogan is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. She is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and received her medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Grogan has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1995 and is a consultant in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and is an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
Dr. Grogan is a noninvasive cardiologist specializing in heart failure, adult congenital heart disease and echocardiography. She has witnessed firsthand the importance of patient education in the treatment of diseases such as congestive heart failure and is excited about the tremendous educational opportunities now available through the Internet.
Risk factors (2)
- Calcium supplements: A risk factor for heart attack?
- Silent heart attack: What are the risks?
- Trouble breathing: Could it be asthma?
- Vitamin D deficiency: Can it cause high blood pressure?
- Omega-6 fatty acids: Can they cause heart disease?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
- Coronary artery disease: Angioplasty or bypass surgery?
Lifestyle and home remedies (5)
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Grass-fed beef: What are the heart-health benefits?
- Healthy chocolate: Dream or reality?
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
- Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
- Olive oil: What are the health benefits?
- Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
- see all in Prevention
Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
Can taking vitamins help prevent heart disease or a heart attack?
from Martha Grogan, M.D.
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.Next question
Olive oil: What are the health benefits?
- Hill AM, et al. The role of diet and nutritional supplements in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. Current Opinion in Cardiology. 2009;24:433.
- Sesso HD, et al. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men: The Physicians' Health Study II randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;300:2123.
- Neuhouser ML, et al. Multivitamin use and risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease in the Women's Health Initiative cohorts. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2009;169:294.
- Block G, et al. Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein. Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 2009;46:70.
- Wang TJ, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2008;117:503.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 20, 2011.
- Antioxidant vitamins. American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4452. Accessed Feb. 3, 2011.