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More Data Showing Folic Acid as Heart-HealthyMore Data Showing Folic Acid as Heart-Healthy

October 1, 2002

1 Min Read
More Data Showing Folic Acid as Heart-Healthy

COLERAINE, Northern Ireland--Researchers from the University of Ulster reported in the September issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (56, 9:850-6, 2002) (www.nature.com/ejcn) that not all B vitamins have the same heart-health effects. In particular, riboflavin (vitamin B2) did not have as much of an effect as folic acid (vitamin B9) on homocysteine, high levels of which are thought to increase the risk for heart disease by damaging the lining of blood vessels and enhancing blood clotting.

In a community-based study using 101 healthy elderly people, for the first 12 weeks volunteers received either 1.6 mg/d of riboflavin or a placebo. In the second part of the study, subjects were given 400 mcg/d of folic acid for another six weeks followed by a combination of the two B vitamins for an additional 12 weeks. A 16-week washout period was implemented post-supplementation.

Researchers found that although riboflavin significantly improved riboflavin status, homocysteine levels were not affected. However, folic acid was found to lower homocysteine.

"As the folic acid story unfolds, it is becoming clear that its importance goes beyond its major role for mothers-to-be and that, in fact, it is not just a woman's nutrient," said Helene McNulty, Ph.D., a co-author of the study. "New and emerging roles for this important vitamin include its probable role in protecting against heart disease and strokes by preventing the accumulation of homocysteine."

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