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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."

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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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