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Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplements Offer No Protection From 2nd Heart Attack

June 23, 2010: 02:13 PM EST
Taking folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements after a heart attack offers no significant protection from a second heart attack or stroke later in life, researchers in the U.K. found in a eta-analysis study. Higher blood homocysteine levels are associated with cardiovascular disease, but no one knows whether the relationship is one of cause or effect. Nevertheless, patients who have suffered a heart attack often take folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements because they lower blood homocysteine. During 6.7 years of follow-up of heart attack survivors, “major vascular events” occurred in 25.5 percent of participants who took supplements, compared to 24.8 percent of those who took a placebo. The researchers did eliminate one worry about folic acid supplementation: it does not increase the risk of cancer.
Jane M. Armitage, F.R.C.P., et al., "Effects of Homocysteine-Lowering With Folic Acid Plus Vitamin B12 vs Placebo on Mortality and Major Morbidity in Myocardial Infarction Survivors: A Randomized Trial", Journal of the American Medical Association, June 23, 2010, © American Medical Association
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