A new study by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta shows that persons taking multivitamins can benefit from combining them with antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamin E to help reduce risks from serious disease such as heart illness and stroke.

Mortality risk from heart disease and stroke was l5 percent lower for users who took a combination of the vitamins, the study showed.

The researchers said their data provides support for the proposition that antioxidant vitamins taken in conjunction with multivitamins can reduce death risk from heart disease and cardiovascular disease or stroke. Vitamin E has been found in numerous previous studies to be effective in preventing a wide array of diseases. In the Atlanta study, Vitamins E, C and A, all considered antioxidants, were studied.

In the study entitled "Multivitamin Use and Mortality in a Large Prospective Study," published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, five researchers from the Atlanta center reported on their research into causes of death among more than one million adults.

The researchers compared death rates for persons who used Vitamin E and other antioxidant vitamins in combination with multivitamins, for persons who used multivitamins alone, and for persons who used the antioxidant vitamins only with the death rates of those who didn't take any vitamins.

The results showed adults who used Vitamin E or other antioxidant vitamins in combination with their multivitamin had a l5 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease or stroke than those who did not take vitamins.

Margaret L. Watkins and her associates at the Atlanta Center called for further studies to examine the role of vitamins in lowering mortality risks. The researchers indicated they were concerned with data that shows male smokers facing higher cancer risks with certain vitamin intakes, and said additional study is needed on cancer. "No such associations were seen in women," the researchers reported.

Multivitamin and combination use showed minimal effect on cancer mortality in the study, the researchers said.