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Vitamin B supplementation can cut stroke risk by 21 percent

Vitamin B

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(NaturalNews) Stroke is a leading cause of death throughout the world, and it is responsible for the most deaths in China. Prevention before a first stroke occurs -- often called primary prevention -- is of the utmost in importance, because most strokes -- about 77 percent -- can be termed as being first-time events. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a recent study undertaken in China involving the vitamin B supplementation has promising implications for the short- and long-term health of those most at risk for stroke.

At Peking University's First Hospital, Yong Huo, M.D., the study's director, along with colleagues and assistants, studied 20,702 adults who already had been diagnosed with hypertension but who did not have a history of either heart attack or stroke. Each person was assigned to a daily treatment. One group received a tablet of enalapril and folic acid combined, while the other group received only enalapril.

Long-term study shows promise

For more than five years -- from May 2008 to August 2013 -- the trial was conducted. The participants resided within 32 communities in the provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu in China. Within the 4.25-year study window, researchers noted, the incidences of stroke were significantly reduced in those participants who were assigned the tablet containing folic acid.

The numbers explained

Of the participants who had first-time strokes during the study, 282 were in the group who was assigned to take the folic acid supplement, while the group that was not had 355 participants who had a stroke. These data correlate to 2.7 percent of participants and 3.4 percent of participants, respectively, a risk reduction of about 21 percent. The researchers also noted that the participants who were assigned to take folic acid had a reduction of ischemic stroke as well as other cardiovascular occurrences such as heart attack and cardiovascular death.

Some occurrences that did not change

The researchers did note that there did not seem to be a correlation between the frequency of adverse events, hemorrhagic stroke, all-cause death or heart attack when the two groups of participants were compared.

The researchers' conclusions

The scientists behind this study wrote that their data correlate with other existing evidence showing that folic acid supplementation can result in a huge differences in patient outcomes. Study participants with a lower baseline of folic acid were shown to have a more pronounced benefit when compared to those participants who already had a strong baseline level of folate.

What these results mean for the rest of the world

While the researchers noted that other countries in the world typically have higher baseline folate levels, there is still room for improvement. For example, many people in Canada and the United States already supplement with folic acid. This does not mean, however, that more focused folic acid therapy would not be helpful for those who are at risk for cardiovascular events.

Hypertension aside, the results are exciting

Though the participants in the study all had hypertension, there is no reason to think that the results of folic acid supplementation would not apply to populations that do not have chronic high blood pressure. Ideally, the correct amount of folic acid should be obtained from the diet, but the addition of supplements is a promising move toward reducing the risk of stroke.





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