Large clinical studies showed that a significant population of adults is affected by hyperlipidaemia in the developed countries . In the USA, approximately 100 million people (44.4%) suffered from hypercholesterolemia (>200 mg/dL) in 2008 . It is well known, that hyperlipidemia, especially hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor in the development of atherosclerosis and subsequent ischemic heart disease  which is a leading cause of death in industrialized countries . Moreover, several experimental studies have demonstrated that in addition to its well-known pro-atherogenic effect in the vasculature, hyperlipidemia may directly affect the heart causing contractile dysfunction [5, 6] and attenuated responses to cardioprotective interventions [7–10].
It has been shown in large clinical trials that antihyperlipidemic agents e.g. statins , fibrates , and niacin  could reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in hypercholesterolemic patients . Therefore, development of anti-hyperlipidemic strategies is a crucial point in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Regular consumption of multivitamin and multimineral supplements is common in developed countries  to maintain general health. In the United States, more than half of the adult population use dietary supplements  primarily in the form of multivitamins with or without minerals . In 1998 a study reported that in Germany 18% of men and 25% of women were regular users of multivitamins among 18–79 years old adults . Moreover, sales data show increasing consumption of these products both in the USA and Europe. The effect of these complex multivitamin preparations on hyperlipidemia and its consequences is, however, not well understood.
Not only total energy intake and macronutrients including carbohydrates, protein and fat, but also micronutrients including vitamins, minerals and trace elements may affect the severity of hyperlipidaemia. A few clinical and experimental studies have shown that some individual vitamins and vitamin-like substances e.g. coenzyme Q10 , B3 , and folate [20, 21], minerals e.g. iron  and copper , and trace elements e.g. selenium  beneficially affect hyperlipidaemia and its complications. In these studies, effects of individual vitamins, minerals and trace elements or combination of two or three components were investigated on hyperlipidemia. Interestingly, additional food supplements prepared from plants including phytosterols appeared on the market as functional food ingredients. However, results of large clinical studies on the lipid-lowering effects of plant sterols and stanols are controversial [25, 26], and it is not known if phytosterols may provide additional benefit in protection of the ischemic heart.
Dietary supplements containing multivitamins, minerals and trace elements enriched with phytosterol now are available on the market. Surprisingly, there is only very limited literature data available on the effects of such preparations developed for human use on hyperlipidemia and its consequences .
Therefore, here we aimed to investigate if a commercial VMTP preparation containing 17 different vitamins, coenzyme Q10, minerals, trace elements and phytosterol affects the progression of hyperlipidemia and the severity of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in a diet-induced experimental model of hyperlipidemia in rats.