Vitamin B, while harmless, does not help prevent a repeat occurance of strokes or heart attacks, according to a recent study published in the British medical journal 'The Lancet'.
The findings, based on first-ever clinical trials, suggest that vitamin B supplements should no longer be recommended for patients who have suffered severe vascular events, the researchers said. Previous research has shown a link between an increase of amino acid in the blood - a condition known as homocysteine - and a higher risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. At the same time, other studies have shown that a daily dose of Vitamin B can reduce abnormal amino acid levels.
What remained unknown was whether the supplements would also help cut the risk of repeat heart attacks or strokes, fatal or non-fatal. To find out, an international consortium of doctors and scientists in 20 countires conducted a clinical trial with more than 8000 patients who had recently had a serious heart or vascular problem.
Half the participants were given a daily dose of B Vitamins - a mix of folic acid, B6 and B12 - while the other half swallowed lookalike placebos. During a follow-up period that average 3.4 years, there was no statistically significant difference in the outcome : 15% of of the Vitamin B group experienced a major vascular event, compared to 17% for the control group. At the same time, the vitamins did not cause any unwanted side effects.
(Source adapted from The Sun dated 18/10/2010)