June 05, 2007
Folic Acid Cuts Stroke Risk

Eat your beans and green leafy vegetables.

Folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk of stroke by 18% or more, conclude authors of an Article published in this week's edition of The Lancet.

But the authors and an accompanying comment caution that there remains controversy as to whether folic acid supplementation can lead to improved outcomes for other cardiovascular conditions.

Professor Xiaobin Wang, Children's Memorial Hospital and Children's Memorial Research Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA, and colleagues did a meta-analysis (a study combining previous trials) of eight trials of folic acid that had stroke reported as one of the endpoints.

Folic acid supplementation lowers the concentrations homocysteine in the blood. High amounts of homocysteine in the blood are thought to increase the risk of stroke, as well as that of cardiovascular disease and deep vein thrombosis.

They found folic acid supplementation reduced the relative risk of stroke by an average of 18 per cent. In subgroup analyses, an even greater reduction of risk was seen when the treatment lasted over 36 months (29% less risk); if it reduced the concentration of homocysteine in the blood by more than 20% (23% less risk); or if the patient had no previous history of stroke (25% less risk).

The study also found that in areas that did not already have supplementation through fortified or partly fortified grain, folic acid supplementation decreased the risk of stroke by 25%.

Should blood tests for homocysteine levels become as commonplace as blood tests for cholesterol and lipids? Also, while I'm at it, should vitamin D blood tests also become commonplace?

Look ahead 20 years and I expect many people will walk around with implanted nanodevices that do in situ blood tests. People will get their blood tests and recommended dietary recommendations from their cell phones which will query their implanted nanodevices. Or maybe they'll have implanted headphones and the implants will tell us what we need? Or why not implant display devices on the optic nerves and just show the test results by stimulating a pattern on optic nerves to cause us to see test result data?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 June 05 12:01 AM  Aging Diet Brain Studies

Tom said at June 5, 2007 4:13 AM:

Too bad the article doesn't say how much folic acid would be necessary to cut your risk.

rsilvetz said at June 5, 2007 8:34 AM:

Oh my brethren in the profession give me such heartburn.

Titrate. Take the folic acid, the tri-methylglycine (betaine), B6 and B12 and check homocysteine while increasing dose until you are down below 7 umol/L. (Bottom third of the range. Don't try for much below 7 umol/L. Almost impossible to reach unless you live only on carbs.)

As opposed to vitamin D supplementation where screening doesn't pay because the genetic metabolism differences cannot be safely overcome by upping beyond the 10K unit threshold, here it pays to screen and titrate to optimum blood level.

Folks don't realize how central homocysteine is to cardiovascular disease. When inflammation of the endothelium teams up with homocyteine that poor vasculature gets ravaged. Crush inflammation or crush homocysteine, and while there are ten other things that attack the vasculature to help heart disease along, things progress really slowly.

rsilvetz said at June 5, 2007 10:08 PM:

What I expect genetic engineering to do is to enhance our metabolism. We will manufacture all the amino acids. We will manufacture all the vitamins in quantity. We will remove dependency on the sun to process vitamin D. Etc. Etc. Etc.

kittyfool said at May 27, 2009 7:18 PM:

This is a pathetic and sad forecast for the future. I suppose in your dreams, Big Brother has all the answers. Maybe, we can get some SSRIs for your mental health.

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