B vitamins may not help prevent heart disease

March 15, 2006 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

B vitamins may not help prevent heart disease

While supplementation of B vitamins is associated with lower levels of homocysteine, it is not linked with a lower risk of heart disease, according to recent study findings.

Increased blood levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It was suggested that by lowering the levels of homocysteine, it would be possible to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, these latest findings seem to dismiss that claim.

Study findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine randomly assigned over 5,500 patients with heart disease or diabetes either a combination of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 or a placebo.

Blood levels of homocysteine decreased by 0.3 mg/L in the supplement group, while levels dropped by only 1mg/L in the placebo group.

Despite decreases in homocysteine levels for the supplementation group, no link was found between B-vitamin intake and the risk of death.

Researchers suggest further studies are needed to examine the effect of homocysteine levels on risk of heart disease.

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