Vitamins fail another test
The supposed benefits of vitamins have suffered another blow. In this case it's B vitamins, which do not appear to protect stroke patients from subsequent heart attacks or strokes, according to the biggest, best study to examine the issue.
Previous research has suggested that people with elevated levels of an amino acid in their blood known as homocysteine are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. B vitamins can reduce homocysteine levels.
To test this hypothesis, researchers in Australia launched the new study, which involved giving 8,164 patients who had suffered a stroke in the previous seven months either a placebo or a combination of the B vitamins folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
In the September issue of the British journal The Lancet Neurology, the researchers report that those who took the B vitamins had lower homocysteine levels. But those taking the B vitamins were not significantly less likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack or to die from any cause during the 3.4-year study.
Despite the findings, however, Peter Sandercock of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, England, argues that more research is needed to continue to explore the hypothesis, especially given the previous findings and the fact that B vitamins appear to be very safe.
August 4, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Cardiovascular Health , Prevention , Strokes , Vitamins
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