Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

B Vitamins May Not Cut Heart Risks

In High-Risk Patients Taking B Vitamin Supplements, Heart Risks Remain


The second study was the Norwegian Vitamin (NORVIT) trial. The researchers included Kaare Harald Bonaa, MD, PhD, of the University of Tromso in Tromso, Norway.

The NORVIT trial included 3,749 men and women who had had a heart attack up to a week before joining the study. The researchers randomly assigned patients to take one capsule per day containing one of four treatments:

  • 0.8 milligrams of folic acid, 0.4 milligrams vitamin of B-12, 40 milligrams of vitamin B-6
  • 0.8 milligrams of folic acid, 0.4 milligrams of vitamin B-12
  • 40 milligrams of vitamin B-6
  • Placebo

Over an average of three years, blood homocysteine levels fell 27%, on average, for patients given folic acid and vitamin B-12.

But none of the vitamin groups cut their risk of major cardiovascular "events," the researchers write. Those "events" were fatal or nonfatal heart attack, fatal or nonfatal stroke, and sudden death attributed to heart disease.

Unusual Findings

The HOPE 2 researchers noticed that in the vitamin group, fewer patients had strokes but more were hospitalized for unstable angina (chest pain). The stroke findings may have been due to chance, and the reasons for the increase in hospitalizations for unstable angina in the vitamin group aren't clear, the researchers note.

The NORVIT trial also showed an unexpected "trend toward an increased rate of events among patients receiving B vitamins, in particular the combination of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12," write Bomaa and colleagues.

Bonaa's team can't rule out the possibility that that trend was due to chance, not the vitamins.

Both studies included a series of lab tests showing that the vitamin takers boosted their levels of the B vitamins. Compliance with the treatments appeared to be good, the studies show.

Researchers' Comments

The HOPE 2 and NORVIT studies show no clear heart benefits with any of the B vitamins that were studied.

"Supplements combining folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 did not reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in patients with vascular disease," write Lonn and colleagues for the HOPE 2 study.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure