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Multivitamins, fish oil cut heart disease risk

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By david Liu, PHD

Sunday Aug 12, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking multivitamins and fish oil supplements can help prevent cardiovascular disease, a major killer in the United States and other developed countries, according to a new trial in International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research.

The trial confirms early work suggesting that multivitamin may reduce homocysteine, c-reactive protein and triglycerides, which are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and omega 3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil reduce triglycerides.

In the trial led by C. Earnest of Health and Exercise Science, University of Bath in Bath, UK and colleagues, 100 participants whose baseline homocysteine was greater than 8.0 umol per liter were assigned to receive one of the four treatments:

(1) Placebo;
(2) Multivitamins including 200 mg vitamin c, 400 IU vitamin E, 25 mg vitamin B6, 400 ug folic acid  and 400 ug vitamin B12 plus placebo;
(3) Omega-3 fatty acids 2 grams, 860 mg, 440 mg DHA  plus placebo;
(4) Multivitamin, omega 3 fatty acids.

After the 12-week treatments, homocysteine was reduced by -1.43 umol/L in thr group using multivitamins, -1.01 umol/L in those using multivitamin plus omega-3 fatty acids and -0.57 umol/L in those taking placebo only whereas homocysteine was increased by 1.11 umol/L units in those taking omega-3 fatty acids.

C-reactive protein (nmol/L) was reduced by -6.0 in those on multivitamins, -0.98 in those on multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids whereas it was also reduced to a smaller degree by -0.15 in those on placebo, and -.0.53 in those on omega-3 fatty acids.

Additionally, triglycerides were decreased by -0.41 in those on omega  fatty acids, -0.71 in those on multivitamin plus omega 3 fatty acids, both were significant when compared to placebo which reduced triglycerides by - 0.10 and multivitamin group, which increased 0.15 units.

Co-supplementation of multivitamins and omega 3 fatty acids provided synergistic affects on homocysteine, c-reactive protein and triglycerides.

Long chain omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil and short chain omega 3 fatty acids are found in walnut oil and flaxseed oil.  The former are believed to be more effective than the latter.

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