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Vitamin Keeps Stroke Patients Alive

Reported March 8, 2004

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Folic acid helps women reduce their risk of birth defects. Now, new research shows the vitamin may also keep stroke patients alive.

In 1996, The Food and Drug Administration required enriched grains to be fortified with folic acid to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns.

Results of this study show the number of stroke deaths were 10 percent to 15 percent lower in the three years after the FDA required fortification, compared to the three years before fortification. In 1997, stroke death rates declined by about 1 percent per year, but after 1997, they declined by more than 4 percent per year.

Researchers say about 31,000 stroke-related deaths and about 17,000 heart disease-related deaths may have been prevented each year since fortification was implemented.

Folic acid lowers homocysteine levels. People with higher homocysteine levels are at an increased risk for stroke and heart disease. Lorenzo D. Botto, M.D., from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says, “We think homocysteine somehow causes an insult on the vascular wall, weakening the vessel and making it more prone to damage.”

Researchers say their results show the reduction in homocysteine levels was associated with fewer deaths due to stroke and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Botto concludes, “If folic acid fortification is responsible for the improvement in stroke-associated mortality, the public health benefits are substantial.”

 

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.naturallyherbs.com/alerts.shtml.


 

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