Should I take vitamins to help my heart?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A good multivitamin is a fountain of micronutrients, some of which are particularly key to your heart's health. Taking a multi that contains the following vitamins and minerals (at the specified dosages) can offer some specific heart benefits. What's more, taking the right multivitamin twice a day can make your RealAge more than six years younger.
Some suggested vitamins and their benefits:
  • Magnesium (400 mg daily) helps keep heart rhythms stable and, with calcium (600 mg twice daily), lowers blood pressure.
  • To absorb calcium well you need vitamin D (400 IU daily for those under age 60; 600 IU for over 60), which also may decrease inflammation in blood vessels.
  • Vitamin C (600 mg twice daily) and vitamin E (400–800 IU daily) work as an antioxidant combination-they are much more powerful together than they are separately. (By the way, if you are taking a statin such as Zocor, Pravachol, Lipitor, or Crestor, reduce the amount of vitamins C and E you take in supplements or pills to no more than 100 mg twice a day and 100 IU a day, respectively. Vitamins C and E inhibit the anti-inflammatory effects of statins. The cholesterol effects are not altered, just the anti-inflammatory effects, but those account for 40 percent or more of the benefit from statins.
  • Potassium promotes arterial health (get it from dietary sources: four fruits per day, especially bananas, avocados, and melon).
  • Take 1500 IU vitamin A per day, but don't consume more than 2500 IU. Megadoses of vitamin A can actually oxidize tissue, which causes DNA damage. One study from Finland showed that people taking vitamin A had a higher risk of lung cancer, atherosclerosis, and, for smokers, stroke.
  • Folate, a B vitamin, has proven to be essential to human health in various ways, but it has a crucial role for your heart: A daily dose of 700 mcg lowers homocysteine to healthy levels and makes the person whose homocysteine level is 26 mg/dL (the level you should shoot for is less than 9 mg/dL) about six years younger. Your body only partially absorbs the folate in food, so taking a supplement is the easiest way to ensure you are getting enough. But you must also take B-6 and B-12 because folate sometimes unmasks a deficiency in them.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

More About this Book

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

Continue Learning about Vitamins

Magnesium the Magnificent
Magnesium the Magnificent
Magnesium is used by 300 of your regulatory enzymes that control muscle, nerve, protein, bone, glucose and energy metabolism. However, eating processe...
Read More
How does vitamin deficiency affect oral health?
Vitamin deficiencies can make it harder for your immune system to fend off infections in your mouth....
More Answers
What vitamins should I take while pregnant?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
During pregnancy, your body needs extra vitamins to support your baby's growth and development. Preg...
More Answers
Are Multivitamins a Waste of Money?
Are Multivitamins a Waste of Money?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.