Vitamin B Lowers Cardiovascular Disease Risk
A study out of China published in June 2014 established that low-dose supplementation with B vitamins improves heart health by reducing the Framingham risk score (FRS). FRS utilizes age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, smoking status, systolic blood pressure and the use of blood pressure medication to calculate cardiovascular risk over 10 years.
The researchers followed 390 people aged 60-74. They were randomly selected to receive 50 mg daily of vitamin C (control group) or 400 mcg of folic acid, 2 mg of B6 and 10 mcg of B12 every day (treatment group) for 12 months. The researchers also calculated FRS for all participants.
Results showed that, in the treatment group, folic acid and B12 concentrations increased by 253 percent and 80 percent, respectively, after only six months and stayed that way for the duration of the study period. Compared to the control group, B supplementation had no dramatic effect on FRS after six months, but researchers observed a significant improvement after 12 months. (However, the benefits disappeared six months after supplementation ended.)
Furthermore, the reduced cardiovascular risk was greater in people who started out with a folate deficiency versus those who had ample amounts of this nutrient to begin with. The researchers also noted that B vitamin supplementation raised levels of protective HDL cholesterol by 9.2 percent after 12 months.
They concluded, “Daily supplementation with a low dose of B vitamins for 12 months reduced FRS, particularly in healthy elderly subjects with a folate deficiency. These reduced effects declined after supplementation cessation, indicating a need for persistent supplementation to maintain the associated benefits.”
Wang L, et al. Eur J Nutr. 2014 Jun 11. [Epub ahead of print.]