Folic acid reduces blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid widely believed to play a role in the race. Some studies have shown the benefits of reducing homocysteine with folic acid, while others have not.One widely reported study, also published last year suggested that folic acid and two other B vitamins may increase the risk of heart failure in patients at high risk.
With the exception of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, Wang said people in the U.S. who eat a healthy diet is likely to get enough folic acid in foods they eat.
‘We just looked at race, therefore, and we saw a clear benefit to the integration in people who had not had previous stroke,’ researcher Xiaobin Wang, MD, PhD, tells WebMD. Folic acid homocysteine targets
When the results of eight previous studies were combined, the researchers found the greatest gains were among those who took folic acid supplements for a long time.
Taking supplements of folic acid was also found to reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent among those living in areas where grains have been fortified with folic acid.
Fortification of bread, cereals and other grains began in the United States in 1998, in an attempt to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, congenital malformations involving the spinal cord and brain. Green leafy vegetables, spinach and other beans and peas are also good dietary sources of vitamin B. Questions remain
‘While there may be some subgroups of people who can benefit from homocysteine lowering therapy, it is premature to recommend folic acid for primary stroke prevention,’ he said.
She says more research is needed to determine whether folic acid supplements are beneficial in reducing the risk of stroke in these individuals.
But it is unclear whether folic acid supplements are indeed associated with a lower risk of stroke and supplements are safe or if for all.
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The biggest improvement in the risk of stroke was observed in people who: have taken folic acid supplements for more than three years .