Taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce your risk of stroke according to the findings of a new survey.
In the past there have been conflicting claims about the benefits, or otherwise, of taking vitamin B supplements to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Some studies actually concluded that taking vitamin B supplements may increase the risk, according to the review authors as quoted in MedicineNet.com.
They analyzed the findings of 14 clinical trials covering almost 55,000 people. The trials compared vitamin B supplement use with a placebo or very low-dose vitamin B taken over a period of six months.
During this time there were a total of nearly 2,500 strokes among the participants, all of which showed some benefit of taking vitamin B, actually a reduction of 7 percent. The researchers found that vitamin B 12 had no effect on stroke risk.
The author of the review, Xu Yuming, of Zhengzhou University in China,said:
“Based on our results, the ability of vitamin B to reduce stroke risk may be influenced by a number of other factors, such as the body’s absorption rate, the amount of folic acid or vitamin B12 concentration in the blood, and whether a person has kidney disease or high blood pressure.”
He added, “Before you begin taking any supplements, you should always talk to your doctor.”
Dr. Rafael Alexander Ortiz, director of neuro-endovascular surgery and stroke at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said the findings are important. noting that strokes can be caused by many varying factors:
“Ischemic strokes can have many different causes, the most common being hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity,” said. “There is a group of patients that may suffer a stroke due to deficiency of vitamins and enzymes. It is appropriate to perform a comprehensive work-up, including [for] vitamin deficiencies, in patients that have suffered a stroke.”
His view was supported by Dr. Albert Favate, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, who said:
“[The report] identifies a substance which is readily available and has been demonstrated to have a positive effect in stroke risk reduction in certain population subgroups… The article also reflects the increased public thirst for dietary prevention of stroke.”