Life Extension Update
Meta-analysis justifies the use of folic acid to reduce heart disease and strokes
The November 25, 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal published the conclusion of researchers at The London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry that there is enough scientific evidence to warrant the use of the B vitamin folic acid as an inexpensive and simple method of reducing heart disease and stroke. A greater intake of folic acid is associated with lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked with the development of cardiovascular disease.
The following studies have shown a rapid and dramatic decrease in homocysteine levels caused by folic acid and some B vitamins:
Homocysteine is an amino acid that, even at levels previously regarded as normal, exaggerates the adverse effects of other atherosclerotic risk factors and may heighten long-term risk for heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, depression, blood clot formation, and even cancer.
Fortunately, the nutritional management of elevated homocysteine levels is a relatively straightforward proposition. Despite the government’s well-intended mandate to add folic acid to grain products, most of us are still marginally and sometimes substantially deficient of folic acid. Folic acid supplementation, along with other nutritional strategies to lower homocysteine—using vitamins B6 and B12, choline, and trimethylglycine (TMG)—can provide powerful protection against homocysteine’s ill effects on your life and health.
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