Do dietary supplements improve heart health?

Posted 20 September 2019

By Scott Gavura Science Based Medicine

The sale of dietary supplements is booming and continues to grow. Supplements are enormously popular with an estimated 75% of Americans using some form of supplement regularly. Supplements are widely believed (and advertised) to provide meaningful health benefits. As cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US, it is not surprising that supplements purported to treat, mitigate, or prevent cardiovascular disease would be popular. It has been noted in many posts on this blog that the supplement industry is very lightly regulated, meaning that claims of effectiveness may not be backed by credible evidence. Additionally, safety concerns have been raised with some supplements, with the suspicion that in some cases, they may harm more than help. With this question in mind, Safi Khan and colleagues from West Virginia University and other organizations undertook a massive umbrella review (a summary of systematic reviews) of dietary supplements and their effects on cardiovascular outcomes. The paper was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in July 2019, and is entitled “Effects of Supplements and Dietary Interventions on Cardiovascular Outcomes“.

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