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April 16, 2010

Diet high in B-vitamins ‘lowers heart risk’

Japanese researchers say that people who eat a diet high in B-vitamins are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
They analyzed dietary questionnaires completed by more than 23,000 men & almost 36,000 women who were part of the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study. During a median 14 years of follow-up, 986 of the people died from stroke, 424 from heart disease, & 2,087 from all diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

The study found that women who ate more foods with the B-vitamins folate & B-6 were less likely to die from stroke & heart disease, while men who ate a diet high in these B-vitamins were less likely to die of heart failure.Vitamin B-12 intake was not associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The researchers believe that folate & vitamin B-6 may help protect against cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that's affected by diet & heredity. Previous research suggests that too much homocysteine may damage the inner lining of arteries & promote the formation of blood clots.

Fish, liver, meats, whole grains & fortified cereals are sources of vitamin B-6, while vegetables & fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans & legumes are sources of folate. The study appears online in the journal Stroke.

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