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B vitamins fail to reduce heart-health problems

beating heartCochrane has reviewed the literature.

First, the details.

  • 8 studies of 24,210 participants were reviewed.
  • The reviewers looked for differences in heart attack, stroke, or reductions in the risk of total mortality in people already suffering from heart disease.

And, the results.

  • The was no difference between the B vitamins and placebo.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded there is “no evidence that homocysteine-lowering interventions, in the form of supplements of vitamins B6 [pyridoxine], B9 [folic acid], or B12 [cyanocobalamin] given alone or in combination, at any dosage compared with placebo or standard care, prevents myocardial infarction, stroke, or reduces total mortality in participants at risk or with established cardiovascular disease”.

The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) and the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) are disputing the conclusions. Most of the criticism relates to the lack of data on homocysteine blood levels.

Researchers from the Rabin Medical Center, in Petah Tikva, Israel recently reported “long-term folate-based vitamin therapy was independently associated with lower all-cause mortality in patients with coronary artery disease and elevated homocysteine levels. This association was not observed in patients with lower homocysteine levels.”

10/13/09 21:23 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.