Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?

It’s not yet clear if taking vitamins can reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. But, what is known is that no vitamin can prevent the development of heart disease if you don’t control your other risk factors, such as a poor diet, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Some studies have suggested that certain vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, may reduce your heart disease risk, but larger clinical trials haven’t shown a benefit. The American Heart Association doesn’t recommend taking either vitamin as a way to prevent heart disease.

There’s some evidence of a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and heart disease. However, most research has shown that taking vitamin D with or without calcium doesn’t lower your risk of heart disease or it’s complications. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your vitamin D level.

Most people who are generally healthy and eat a nutritious diet don’t need to take a daily vitamin. If you’re concerned about your nutrition, talk with your doctor about whether taking a daily vitamin might be a good option for you.

Or, better yet, add nutrient-rich foods — such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy oils, whole grains and at least two servings of fish weekly — to your diet to help protect your heart. Limit salt, trans fats and saturated fats.