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B-vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease

People with a diet rich in folate and B-6 are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, study finds

THURSDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- People who eat a diet high in B-vitamins are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, say Japanese researchers.

They analyzed dietary questionnaires completed by more than 23,000 men and almost 36,000 women who were part of the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study. During a median 14 years of follow-up, 986 of the people died from stroke, 424 from heart disease, and 2,087 from all diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

The study found that women who ate more foods with the B-vitamins folate and B-6 were less likely to die from stroke and heart disease, while men who ate a diet high in these B-vitamins were less likely to die of heart failure.

Vitamin B-12 intake was not associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The researchers believe that folate and vitamin B-6 may help protect against cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that's affected by diet and heredity. Previous research suggests that too much homocysteine may damage the inner lining of arteries and promote the formation of blood clots.

Fish, liver, meats, whole grains and fortified cereals are sources of vitamin B-6, while vegetables and fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans and legumes are sources of folate.

The study appears online April 15 in the journal Stroke.

More information

The Office of Dietary Supplement, U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about vitamin B-6.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 15, 2010

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