Multivitamins Prevent Heart Attacks

Chelation therapy has been used to treat heart disease, and a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of chelation therapy showed that it works, which I wrote about in Heavy Metals and Heart Attacks. Further analysis of the results from the chelation trial have shown another interesting result: in patients who do not take statins, multivitamins prevent heart attacks.

The TACT Trial

Chelation therapy, the process in which doctors infuse EDTA into a patient with the aim of removing metals, has been practiced for decades mainly by alternative practitioners. The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy, or TACT, was designed to rigorously test this therapy, and was originally thought of as a debunking study that would finally put the idea of chelation therapy to rest and confirm the mainstream proclamations of its uselessness. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which side of health care you stand on, the trial found that, contrary to expectations, it worked.

TACT used a factorial protocol, viz:

  • 1. Active intravenous (IV) chelation infusions + active oral MVM [multivitamins and  minerals].
  • 2. Active IV chelation infusions + placebo oral MVM.
  • 3. Placebo IV chelation infusions + active oral MVM.
  • 4. Placebo IV chelation infusions + placebo oral MVM.

Patients on double active treatment had 26% fewer cardiovascular events than those on double placebo, and diabetic patients had 51% fewer. See charts below for event rates.

Large image of Figure 1.

Note that the first chart shows a non-significant reduction in cardiovascular events in patients on placebo infusions, but taking the multivitamin/mineral supplement.

The group running the trial looked at the data using “a prespecified subgroup analysis of participants not on statin therapy”. “Prespecified” is important here because it means the reseachers did not use data mining to find their results.

Most of the patients in the trial, 73% of them, were taking statins, since these drugs are considered standard of care for heart attack patients. But 27% were not on statins, and this group was analyzed separately.

The group taking vitamins, as opposed to placebo, had 54% fewer events, a composite of cardiovascular mortality, stroke, or heart attack. See event rate chart below.

The researchers were flabbergasted:

“These findings were unexpected and have to be viewed with appropriate skepticism… The TACT investigators did not expect the OMVM regimen to produce clinically important benefits independent of the chelation treatment. The findings reported here were serendipitously discovered. The relative treatment effect seems quite large and this, in the presence of substantial noncompliance and what we think we already know about OMVM, makes these results seem implausible. However, implausible does not mean wrong. Under these circumstances, it is prudent to view these results skeptically and await TACT2 replication before any serious consideration is given to the potential clinical value of these findings.”

The MVM supplement

Previous trials have found no benefit of vitamins in cardiovascular disease, but most of them used either single vitamins or different formulations with much smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals.

In the study discussed here, the only reason they used vitamins is because chelation practitioners told them that they should, because that has been their practice. The ingredients of the MVM supplement can be found here. What jumps out are much higher amounts than in the Physician’s Health Study, as well as high amounts of vitamin A, C, B vitamins, and a hefty 500 mg of magnesium. Lots of other vitamins and minerals too.

In addition, the infusion used for chelation contained EDTA – based on kidney function, with a maximum of 3 grams – and  2 grams of  magnesium chloride, 7 grams of vitamin C, potassium, and three B vitamins.


My bet is on magnesium as the main component of the supplement that lowered the risk of cardiovascular events.

The patients got large doses of magnesium, 2 grams in the infusion once a week, and 500 mg daily in the supplement. That alone could have seriously good benefits for cardiovascular health, since subclinical magnesium deficiency is a principal driver of cardiovascular disease.

Huge numbers of people do not get enough magnesium, as much as 50% of the population, and that figure is using the official RDA. At a more realistic intake of magnesium, many more are deficient. And magnesium deficiency is not readily detectable with standard lab testing. Magnesium deficiency can lead to hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Many magnesium supplements aren’t absorbed well. While the study doesn’t specify what type of magnesium the MVM contained, the fact that the patients got an infusion of 2 grams of magnesium chloride weekly guarantees that body magnesium levels increased.

Magnesium citrate is the best absorbed form of magnesium. I take this one. Don’t even bother with magnesium oxide, the kind found on drugstore shelves, as the body can absorb next to none of it.

Of course other vitamins and minerals may have contributed to the lower incidence of cardiovascular events. Maybe most of them together synergized. Of note, the supplement contained no iron.


Of interest, patients taking statins got no benefit from the vitamin/mineral supplement. That could mean a couple of things.

  • Statins cancel the benefits of vitamins and minerals on cardiovascular disease risk, or
  • Statins confer the same benefits as vitamins and minerals, and the addition of vitamins and minerals conferred no extra benefit.

By eyeballing the charts, my bet is on the first option: statins negate the benefits of vitamins and minerals.


What can we conclude, or at least conjecture, about these results?

  1. For starters, it’s important to be well-nourished, as that can prevent or treat heart disease.
  2. Multivitamins and minerals in supplement form may treat CVD.
  3. Many people with cardiovascular disease may be malnourished – in fact, that’s a certainty in my opinion.
  4. Statins may cause harm.
  5. The medical establishment may once again be wrong about causes and treatments of cardiovascular disease.
  6. Chelation therapy with a MVM supplement works in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.


PS: For more on the benefits of vitamins and minerals, see my book, Best Supplements for Men.

PPS: Check out my Supplements Buying Guide for Men.

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Leave a Comment:

Edward Pluchar says February 11, 2018

Illuminating study, would be interesting to see the TACT2

Do you see any problem grinding those magnesium pills in a powder and taking it with a shake?

    P. D. Mangan says February 11, 2018

    No, and in fact you can get bulk magnesium citrate powder, which I’ve used.

    peter connor says February 11, 2018

    My naturopath strongly recommends magnesium lotion, which he says is absorbed much better than supplements. So far, I feel that it has been very beneficial, and can even be used in spots on sore muscles etc with benefit.

John Pollard says February 11, 2018

I am subscribed to your posts and find this one timely. I have followed the results of the TACT 1 trial and am following the TACT 2 trial. I have recently started chelation therapy. I do not have (to my knowledge or to my doctor’s knowledge) any cardiovascular problems. My lipid levels are normal. I first read about chelation therapy in the 80’s and decided then that when I got older I would get chelation therapy whether I needed it or not when I reached a certain age. I am now 66 and have decided to pursue the treatment. I got all of the standard blood test before starting along with a physical and a hair analysis. I am still planing on doing a coronary calcium test – I have had one chelation session and want to get the coronary calcium test done before I do many more. My next chelation session is this week. I have read many books about the subject and believe that chelation therapy can yield many benefits. Thank you for bringing up what I consider to be an important topic.

    P. D. Mangan says February 11, 2018

    Thanks for sharing that, John. if I had CVD, I know I’d be doing it. Given that I used to smoke, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a fair amount of cadmium in my system.

Drifter says February 11, 2018

Very interesting. Another thing I think we can conclude: Dosage matters and it matters a lot!

    Rob says February 11, 2018

    Yes, but not all vitamins in the oral multivitamin they used were high-dosage. Vitamin D3, for example, was only 100 IU, which is very low (I take 5,000 IU daily). On the other hand, the dosage of thiamine (B1) was very high, at 100mg, and Pantothenic Acid (B5) was very high-dosage also. Strange mix.

      P. D. Mangan says February 11, 2018

      Just think of the difference if they used realistic vitamin D doses like 5,000 IU daily.

Rob says February 11, 2018

I don’t doubt that heavy metals can contribute to heart attacks. I started having an irregular heart beat when my ferritin got too high, and it was completely resolved after a few blood donations, so I am a believer that free iron in the bloodstream can cause heart issues. So, I can see where chelation therapy would work. I take a daily IP6 (phytic acid) capsule in the morning, which I’m hoping provides enough iron chelation to keep heavy metals in check (in addition to donating blood a few times each year). As you know, people that donate blood regularly (and keep their ferritin low) live longer on average than those that do not donate blood, so donating blood (and taking an oral chelator, such as IP6) may do as much for lowering heavy metals as the more expensive EDTA chelation therapy.
My problem with taking a daily multivitamin is that virtually all multivitamins contain things that I don’t want/need in a supplement (such as Vitamin A, calcium, vitamin B6). My wife got pretty sick from taking too much B6, and I think it’s better to get Vitamin A and calcium from food). So I think it’s probably best to supplement with specific vitamins/minerals that are hard to get enough of through diet alone (magnesium, Vitamin K2, perhaps iodine), and then just eat a well-rounded diet (including meat, fish, eggs, and colorful veggies) to get the rest. That is my current approach, but I’m always willing to learn more.
Thanks for the interesting article!

    P. D. Mangan says February 11, 2018

    Hi Rob – I agree about the downside of multivitamins, and I don’t take one myself. A targeted approach is best IMO.

SteveRN says February 11, 2018

Glad to see another chelation article, thanks!! I am very intrigued by the idea, and find these posts, and the iron posts, especially interesting. Thanks for your hard work.

Robert says February 11, 2018

Hi Dennis,

For years I’ve maintained a similar stance on magnesium citrate being optimal, but when doing some research to support my stance, I’ve had to reevaluate it. Here is an article I came across which discusses all of the major magnesium supplementation studies, and their clinical significance:

It does acknowledge the study which suggested a 4% magnesium oxide absorption rate and reconciles the likely cause of the results. Based on some of the comments relating to your recent article on Vitamin K2, and whether mk4 or mk7 is the optimal form, we may have to reevaluate from time to time. We may not fully understand the mechanisms at play. There is still much to discover in the nutrition field, and unfortunately a lot of shadow is cast on it from those in power. Thanks for being at the forefront of the push towards a results based approach.

    pzo says February 12, 2018

    Wow, that article turns my mag chloride on its head! I guess the old drugstore oxide is best. Very well researched.

    As an aside, I noticed that numerous readers of that post “believed” something counter to all that cited information. They “believed” that (whichever source) was better because (now proven otherwise,) regardless of the research. Amazing.

      P. D. Mangan says February 12, 2018

      They’re selling magnesium oxide, and their own table shows that it’s less absorbed than magnesium citrate. The fact that magnesium oxide contains more magnesium is irrelevant because you can just increase the dose – that goes for any supplement. The reference they give (#4) for the magnesium oxide says it’s “virtually insoluble at pH of G.I. tract”.

      Bill says February 12, 2018

      The extreme loose bowel impact of magnesium oxide is pretty amazing too !

      Magnesium citrate does not do this to me.

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