Researchers led Dr. Xu Yuming, a neurologist at Zhengzhou University in China have discovered that taking vitamin B supplements can reduce the risk of stroke by lowering homocysteine levels,( an amino acid in the blood that helps blood clot).
“With lower levels of this homocysteine, there is less danger of a clot running through the blood stream and lodging in the brain is thereby reduced,” Yuming stated. At the same time he noted that taking the supplements “did not appear to affect the severity of strokes or the risk of dying from a stroke among those who did suffer them, according to the study.
“Based on our results, the ability of vitamin B to reduce stroke risk may be influenced by a number of other factors, such as the body’s absorption rate, the amount of folic acid (B9) or vitamin B12 concentration in the blood, and whether a person has kidney disease or high blood pressure,” stated Yuming. In fact, folic acid, which is often added to fortified cereals seemed to be counter-productive by reducing the beneficial effect of vitamin B. It was also found that vitamin B12 had no effect on stroke risk.
Conclusions were reached based on the findings of 14 clinical trials that included a total of almost 55,000 people and all of the trials compared vitamin B supplement use with a placebo or very low-dose vitamin B. Trial participants were tracked for at least 6 months. During that time 2,471 of them suffered strokes.
"Before you begin taking any supplements, you should always talk to your doctor," warned Yuming.
Note: Foods rich in vitamin B include (unprocessed) beef, cheese, fish and shellfish, eggs, and soy.