Stroke risk may be reduced by increasing Vitamin B supplements, a new study shows. The findings are opposite those of previous studies of the B vitamins, some of which suggested that overloading on the B complex vitamins may actually increase your risk of stroke, reports MedicineNet.com on Sept. 22.
The B vitamins – long thought to be a single vitamin, much like vitamin C – are actually a set of eight numerical supplements with their own individual names: thiamine (1), riboflavin (2), niacin (3), pantothenic acid (5), pyridoxine (6), biotin (7), folic acid (9) and cobalamins (12).
The study, which was carried in the medical journal Neurology, summarized 14 clinical trials over a six-month period involving close to 55,000 participants. Overall, they discovered that those who took vitamin B supplements for six months demonstrated a seven percent reduction in stroke risk.
Vitamin B supplements are touted for their health benefits: As a reducer for stress, anxiety and depression, and a fighter against dementia and Alzheimer's disease. But how they effect heart conditions was not clearly understood.
Because of the conflicting findings regarding the effect of vitamin B in heart attack risks and stroke, Dr. Xu Yuming of the Zhengzhou University in China set out to determine the vitamin’s role.
“However, the findings showed that taking vitamin B supplements did not reduce the severity of strokes or the risk of death,” reports MedicineNet.
Additionally, researchers found that different complexes within the B family had dissimilar impacts on the test group. Folate, or folic acid (vitamin B9), actually reduced the benefits that the other B vitamins had on the risk of stroke. Too, the study showed that vitamin B12 had no effect at all on stroke risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is the leading cause of death in the US, killing nearly 130,000 Americans every year.
“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 or vitamin B12 concentration in the blood, and whether a person has kidney disease or high blood pressure,” Yuming concluded.