Do you take a multivitamin each day? I do. I take it for a number of reasons — heart health, bone health, immune system health — but a new study is questioning the effectiveness of multivitamins, particularly when it comes to the cardiovascular health of men. 


The study, which is a compilation of a decade of research, was published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The primary finding is that multivitamins do not protect against heart disease in older men.


The research was part of the large-scale Physicians' Health Study II, which has been tracking the long-term effects of multivitamins on the risk of cardiovascular health and cancer in men. The study followed nearly 15,000 male physicians over age 50 and found that those who took a daily multivitamin for at least a decade did not reduce their risk for heart attack, stroke or death compared to those who took a placebo.


That's not to say that vitamins are not useful. In fact, the study's authors acknowledge that multivitamins may be quite helpful in getting people the nutrients they are not getting from food. And they also note that as this study only included older men, its findings might not necessarily apply to other populations. But they do feel that multivitamins alone did not help the men in this study gain any advantage in cardiovascular health over men who did not take a vitamin.


Interestingly, this study followed the same group of men who were the basis for the October study that found that men ages 50 and over who took a daily multivitamin were 8 percent less likely to develop cancer over an 11-year period compared with men who took a placebo.


So, should you take a multivitamin or not? That's a conversation you need to have with your health care provider. 


Does this study change your thoughts on multivitamins?


Related story on MNN: Daily multivitamin makes you think you're invincible, study finds


Multivitamins don't protect men from heart disease
New study follows 10,000 men over a 10-year period and determines that daily multivitamin use does little to protect older men from cardiovascular disease.