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High-Dose Vitamin B Risky for Diabetics With Kidney Disease

Study ties therapy to deteriorating renal function

TUESDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- High-dose vitamin B therapy is dangerous for diabetics with kidney disease, and patients on this regimen should stop immediately, says a new study.

When the researchers began the study, they believed it would show that high-dose vitamin B therapy (folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12) would improve patients' kidney function and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke.

But it turned out that patients on high-dose vitamin B therapy had significant worsening of kidney function, and twice as many heart and stroke incidents as patients taking a placebo.

"Because B vitamins are water soluble, we suspect that while healthy people would excrete excess vitamins in urine, those with renal failure would not be able to do so, perhaps causing the adverse effects we have seen in this study," Dr. David Spence, of the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said in a university news release.

"Vitamin B therapy may still be beneficial in people with normal kidney function, but this is clear evidence that high doses of vitamin B should not be given to those with kidney problems," he added.

The study is published in the April 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 40 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney disease.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about diabetes and kidney disease.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Western Ontario, news release, April 27, 2010

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