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Volume 38, No. 1

Folic Acid for Heart Health

Folic acid supplementation improves arterial elasticity to lower heart attack risk

A primary cause for the dramatic rise in cardiovascular disease leading to coronary artery disease and heart attack deaths is arterial hardening or loss of elasticity in the delicate endothelial lining of the arteries supplying blood to the heart. Homocysteine is an amino acid that has been associated with arterial hardening and thickening, and high circulating blood levels can double or triple the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Prior research bodies have shown that B vitamins naturally lower dangerous levels of homocysteine, and specifically folic acid has demonstrated the capacity to reduce thickening of arterial walls in those individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Scientists from China have published the result of a study in the prestigious journal Atherosclerosis that shows daily supplementation with folic acid reduces hardening of the arteries to counter the development of atherosclerosis.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of ten studies that included 2,052 people set to determine the effect of folic acid on heart health. Past meta-analysis studies found in the journal Clinical Nutrition determined that folic acid lowers stroke risk by 12 percent, again by lowering homocysteine levels in the blood and reducing artery wall thickening.

Researchers found that the data from the meta-analysis supported existing data that folic acid provides potent heart health benefits, and supplementation was associated with less hardening of the arterial walls, especially in those with chronic kidney disease or presently at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The study authors noted that the highest degree of protection was found in studies with the largest reduction in homocysteine levels. This conclusion clearly shows that reducing the deadly homocysteine amino acid reduces risk of both stroke and heart disease in a dose-dependent manner.

The scientists found that daily supplementation with 5 mg of folic acid lowered homocysteine levels by 25 percent, providing a powerful shield against heart disease. The authors concluded "Folic acid supplementation results in significant CIMT (carotid intima-media thickness, a measure of arterial wall thickness) reduction after 18 months in patients with at least one cardiovascular risk." Nutrition experts recommend taking a full-spectrum vitamin B supplement (providing a minimum of 500 mcg folic acid and 300 mcg B12) along with trimethylglycine (500 to 1,000 mg per day) to lower elevated homocysteine levels and dramatically lower stroke and vascular disease risks.


John Phillip for NaturalNews.com

Sources:
http://www.atherosclerosis-journal.com
http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19201496

 

For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to www.AmericanNutritionAssociation.org. Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠