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B-Gone, Heart Disease

A study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that regular intake of vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and B9 (folate) can prevent premature death of heart disease and stroke.

The Japanese study proves that women who eat foods enriched vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate are less likely to suffer heart attack or die of a stroke.  Japanese men who eat B-rich foods are less likely to suffer heart failure.

These findings confirm similar studies which have been conducted in the US and Europe, all of which came to the same conclusion; B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folate are essential for cardiovascular health.

Through the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study, a survey which collected data on the dietary habits of over 85,000 Japanese between the ages of 40 and 79, scientists were able to gain information on a correlation between the amount of B vitamin intake and likeliness of mortality from heart disease and stroke.   Out of the 85,000 men and women studied, 986 died from stroke, 424 perished from heart attack and over 2,000 died from a variety of heart-related illnesses – all in a 14-year time frame.

Scientists grouped test subjects into five categories, varying in relation to B6, B12 and folate intake.  Of the female test subjects who ate the lowest amounts of B6, B12 and folate, more were likely to die of stroke or heart attack than those who ate a moderate amount of B vitamins.  Similarly, men who consumed the least B vitamins were more likely to die from cardiovascular illness than others.  Of the test subjects who reported eating a steady diet of B6, B12 and folate, fewer suffered mortalities related to stroke or heart disease than counterparts from any of the other groups.

Scientists believe that B vitamins lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid which many doctors believe increase one’s risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke.  Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid prevent the accumulation of homocysteine.  Eating whole grains, leafy vegetables, legumes and fish are excellent ways to get B vitamins.  However, many suffer from an inability to completely digest B12, resulting in B12 deficiency.  Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss and numbness or tingling in the extremities.

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