Monday, June 18, 2012

B vitamins lower homocysteine levels and provide significant stroke risk reduction

Stroke remains the third leading cause of death in the US, taking the lives of more than 140,000 people each year, and is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Three-quarters of those suffering from a stroke are aged 65 or older, often the result of decades of poor dietary and lifestyle choices. Past studies have shown that suffering from a stroke is preventable by lowering the circulating levels of the non-protein amino acid known as homocysteine. Researchers from Europe and China have published the result of a study in the journal Clinical Nutrition that demonstrates how B vitamin supplementation provides a significant protective effect on stroke by independently lowering levels of homocysteine. B vitamins are obtained naturally by consuming a wide variety of vegetarian sources including leafy greens, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and almonds. To obtain optimal levels of the full range of B vitamins (including vitamin B12), a broad spectrum form of the nutrient may be necessary. Independent studies confirm B vitamins lower stroke risk by nearly one-quarter Researchers reviewed a meta-analysis of nineteen separate studies with follow-up periods ranging between 6 and 85 months, including dosages of folic acid with or without vitamin B6 and B12. The study authors found that supplementation with B vitamins produced significant reductions in dangerous homocysteine levels as compared to a placebo group. They calculated a 12 percent lowered risk of suffering the effects of a stroke. Interestingly, they found no associated reduction in cardiovascular risk, as stroke and heart disease typically share the same factors for progression. The result of a separate body of research presented at the International Stroke Conference provides findings from the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation 2 trial of more than 5,500 men and women with heart disease. Participants were assigned to a daily regimen of either B vitamins or placebo pills for five years. The results showed that people who took the vitamins were 25% less likely to suffer a stroke over the study period, compared to those who took a placebo. Another important outcome reported in this study was the lowering of stroke risk for those individuals that have already suffered a first stroke. Participants took high or low-dose B vitamins, specifically folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 for a period of two years. Those taking high doses of the B vitamins lowered the occurrence of a second stroke by twenty percent. It's important to note that the results from both studies required optimal doses of B vitamins from a broad range supplement to dramatically lower stroke risk. Source - www.naturalnews.com

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