Vitamin B supplements might reduce your risk of stroke

Taking vitamin B supplements might help to reduce your risk of a stroke, according to new evidence published today in the journal Neurology.

The study by researchers at Zhengzhou University in China reviewed 14 clinical trials and found that Vitamin B lowered the risk of stroke overall by seven percent.

However, taking the supplements did not appear to affect the severity of the strokes or the risk of death from a stroke, according to the review.

"Previous studies have conflicting findings regarding the use of vitamin B supplements and stroke or heart attack," the author, Xu Yuming, said. "Some studies have even suggested that the supplements may increase the risk of these events."

The results were published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The studies compared B vitamin use with a placebo or a very low dose of B vitamin. The 54,913 participants, who were followed for at least six months, had 2,471 strokes during the studies.

All of the studies showed some benefit of taking vitamin B.

Folic acid, a supplemental form of folate or vitamin B9 that is often found in fortified cereals, appeared to reduce the effect of vitamin B. Researchers did not find a reduction in stroke risk for vitamin B12.

"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," Yuming said. "Before you begin taking any supplements, you should always talk to your doctor."

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