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Originally published September 20 2013

B vitamins shown to reduce stroke risk

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Chinese researchers have uncovered even more convincing evidence to suggest that full-spectrum B vitamins are capable of reducing stroke risk. Published in the journal Neurology, the findings of this new meta-analysis out of Zhengzhou University reveal that supplementing with vitamin B can help naturally lower homocysteine levels in the blood, which in turn helps prevent blood clots from forming.

To arrive at this conclusion, Dr. Xu Yuming and his colleagues compiled and analyzed data from 14 randomized trials involving nearly 55,000 participants. Each of these trials looked at the effects of vitamin B when given to patients in varying doses over the course of at least six months, some with seemingly positive results and others with apparently negative results. The findings of all the studies were then compared and contrasted with one another to identify any inherent patterns.

The primary observed pattern was that B vitamins appear to reduce stroke risk by about seven percent overall, and this is due to the effects of the nutrient class on homocysteine levels. In other words, when homocysteine levels are lowered by B vitamins, the likelihood of atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, is also lowered. And in the process, the risks of stroke, heart attack, blood clot formation and dementia are also diminished.

"Our analysis demonstrated that homocysteine lowering therapy with B vitamin supplementation significantly reduced stroke events," wrote the authors in their conclusion.

Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by taking in more food-based B vitamins

Though the authors did not admit to observing any specific reduction in heart attack risk from taking B vitamins, the same mechanistic actions responsible for decreasing stroke risk can also be extrapolated to apply to heart attack risk. Additionally, previous studies have already confirmed that B vitamins provide general benefits that decrease the risk of cardiovascular events, which means that taking them is good for the heart in many respects.

"B vitamins are essential for living," says Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietician and author of the book Diet Simple, as quoted by CNN. "They produce energy in our cells. They are water-soluble vitamins, which means if you take in too much, they are usually excreted by the kidneys. The exception is B12."

For maximum bioavailability and effectiveness, it is crucial to supplement only with whole food-based, full-spectrum B vitamins rather than the more common synthetic varieties. When regular foods in your diet do not provide enough natural vitamin B, whole food-based B vitamins can bridge the gap and provide therapeutic doses for maximum health benefits.

"Folate [vitamin B9], vitamin B2, and vitamin B12 play key roles in converting homocysteine into methionine, one of the 20 or so building blocks from which the body builds new proteins," explains the Harvard School of Public Health. "Without enough folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, this conversion process becomes inefficient and homocysteine levels increase. In turn, increasing intake of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 decreases homocysteine levels."

To learn more about B vitamins and how to better incorporate them into your daily routine, check out this awesome write-up by Natural Grocers nutrition reporter Jack Challem:

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