Vitamin B supplements do not appear to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, Tulane researchers say

December 6, 2006

Arthur Nead
Phone: 504-247-1443

NEW ORLEANS - Contrary to previous studies, folic acid, a B vitamin, does not decrease the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke for people with a history of vascular disease, according to an article published by Tulane University researchers in the Dec. 13 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and world, accounting for more than 30 percent of deaths worldwide and more than 37 percent of deaths in the United States. Approximately 71 million people in the U.S. have one or more form of cardiovascular disease.

Lydia A. Bazzano, assistant professor of epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and colleagues analyzed 12 randomized clinical trials (with 16,958 participants) that compared folic acid supplementation with either placebo or usual care for a minimum duration of six months.

The researchers reported the number of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases in each group. The Tulane team's analysis suggests that folic acid supplementation is ineffective in prevention of cardiovascular disease among people with a history of vascular diseases.

They recommend instead proven preventive strategies including smoking cessation, lipid reduction, treatment of hypertension and diabetes, maintenance of a healthy weight and physical activity.

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