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Use of B vitamins in stroke prevention

Potential benefits of B vitamin therapy to lower homocysteine concentrations in people at high risk of stroke warrant further investigation.

Stroke is an important cause of death and a leading cause of disability, but it is a preventable condition.

Lowering plasma homocysteine concentrations should help to prevent strokes. One way of doing this is by vitamin B therapy. Although early studies showed no overall benefit this may have been because they included people with kidney failure, who can be harmed by the adverse effects of cyanocobalamin, which is a form of vitamin B12.

Some of these studies showed that, while the number of strokes was reduced, there was an increase in myocardial infarctions.

High levels of homocysteine, an amino acid mainly related to meat eating, are associated with atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation and blood clots. Folate therapy, a combination of nutrients including vitamins B 6 and B12, lowers homocysteine levels but, as cyanocobalamin breaks

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