Diet high in B vitamins lowers heart risks in Japanese study

April 15, 2010

Eating more foods containing the B-vitamins folate and B-6 lowers the risk of death from stroke and heart disease for women and may reduce the risk of heart failure in men, according to Japanese research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Japanese people need more of folate and vitamin B-6, which may lead to the prevention of heart disease," said Hiroyasu Iso, M.D., professor of public health at Osaka University.

The findings on the value of B vitamins were consistent with studies in Europe and North America, although the dietary consumption of vitamin B-6 is generally lower in Japan than in the United States.

Researchers analyzed data from 23,119 men and 35,611 women (ages 40-79) who completed food frequency questionnaires as part of the large Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. During a median 14 years of follow-up, 986 died from stroke, 424 from heart disease and 2,087 from all diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

Investigators divided participants into five groups based on their intake of folate, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. Comparing those with the diets lowest and highest for each nutrient, they found that higher consumption of folate and vitamin B-6 was associated with significantly fewer deaths from in men, and significantly fewer deaths from stroke, heart disease and total cardiovascular diseases in women. Vitamin B-12 intake was not associated with reduced mortality risk.

The protective effects of folate and vitamin B-6 didn't change when researchers adjusted for the presence of , nor when they eliminated supplement users from the analysis.

Folate and vitamin B-6 may help guard against by lowering homocysteine levels, the investigators said. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood that's affected by diet and heredity. Folic acid and other B vitamins help break down homocysteine in the body.

A direct causal link hasn't been established, but evidence has shown that too much homocysteine may damage the inner lining of arteries and promote the formation of blood clots.

Sources of include vegetables and fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans and legumes. Sources of vitamin B-6 include vegetables, fish, liver, meats, whole grains and fortified cereals.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

One in five patients report discrimination in health care

December 14, 2017
Almost one in five older patients with a chronic disease reported experiencing health care discrimination of one type or another in a large national survey that asked about their daily experiences of discrimination between ...

Your pets can't put your aging on 'paws'

December 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

Searching for a link between achy joints and rainy weather in a flood of data, researchers come up dry

December 13, 2017
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints. Unjustly so, according to new research from Harvard Medical School. The analysis, published Dec. 13 in BMJ, found no relationship between rainfall and joint or back pain.

Study links health risks to electromagnetic field exposure

December 13, 2017
A study of real-world exposure to non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields in pregnant women found a significantly higher rate of miscarriage, providing new evidence regarding their potential health risks. The Kaiser Permanente ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.