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
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.”
was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail
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