Can Multivitamins Curb Hypertension?

Little is known about multivitamin use and associated prevention or development of hypertension, especially in women.

Diets like the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and proven to reduce high blood pressure (BP).

A daily multivitamin can provide low levels of essential vitamins and nutrients. However, little is known about multivitamin use and associated prevention or development of hypertension, especially in women.

An OTC preventive strategy for hypertension would benefit the general population and allow for more opportunity for patient education and counseling. Conversely, some researchers wonder whether vitamins increase BP, which would discourage use in patients with preexisting hypertension.

This topic was the focus of research published in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of Hypertension. The first study of its kind, it examined long-term use of multivitamins in older women and its potential effects on BP.

Essential vitamins and nutrients can potentially alter hypertension risk in multiple ways. Nutrients with antioxidant properties can reduce oxidative stress. Magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D are all part of BP regulation, and low levels of these essential nutrients may elevate risk for high BP.

This prospective cohort study included 28,157 women from the Women’s Health Study who were 45 years or older and free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and hypertension; 38% of the participants were taking a multivitamin at the start of the study.

At the end of the study, the researchers determined baseline multivitamin use didn’t elevate risk of hypertension. This was consistent across all potential risk factors for hypertension (eg, age, BMI). There was also no association with incident hypertension even when multivitamin use changed during the study.

However, this study had several limitations. For instance, it only enrolled females who were disease-free at baseline, and most of the study population was highly educated and had better health status than the general population.

Although multivitamins aren’t recommended as a preventive strategy for hypertension in this patient population, further randomized, controlled trials and observational studies are needed to confirm these findings.