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Vitamin B and Heart


For more than a decade, doctors and heart patients have been keenly interested in vitamin B because previous studies seemed to show that it could ward off a second heart attack and help prevent stroke. B vitamins lower the level of an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine which promotes hardening of the arteries. High levels of homocysteine have been considered a risk factor for coronary artery disease.

Researchers at Haukeland University Hospital in Norway wanted to see if lowering those levels could improve a patient's health. Dr. Marta Ebbing, Haukeland University Hospital, Norway says "We could lower their homocysteine values, and thus we thought also we could lower their risk for having further heart attacks and related disease." However, one in three heart attack patients has another heart attack within three years.

The researchers studied more than three thousand patients with coronary artery disease. Some received a daily dose of various B vitamins: B twelve, B six and folic acid. Others received a placebo. They followed the patients for about three years.

"Although we lowered homocysteine by almost one third, it did not seem to have any beneficial effects." Researchers say the various forms of vitamin B given to the patients did not help.


A spokesman for the American Heart Association says doctors can also assume B vitamins do not help in preventing a first heart attack. He says the best prevention is still following a good diet, keeping cholesterol levels low, exercising and not smoking.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Listen to the whole report in Lao by clicking the audio files.

Edited by: Jane Friedman
Translated by: Vannasone Keodara

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