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Folic Acid Not Protective in Vascular Disease Patients

In patients with a history of cardiovascular disease, prevention should focus on proven strategies

TUESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Folic acid supplementation has no effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with pre-existing vascular disease, and prevention efforts should focus on proven strategies such as exercise and smoking cessation, according to a report published in the Dec. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lydia A. Bazzano, M.D., Ph.D., of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled clinical trials examining the association between folic acid supplementation and cardiovascular disease. The trials involved 16,958 participants with pre-existing vascular disease and were identified from a MEDLINE search (January 1966-July 2006).

The researchers found that folic acid supplementation had no significant effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke or all-cause mortality.

"The findings of this analysis suggest that folic acid supplementation is ineffective in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease among persons with a history of vascular diseases," Bazzano and colleagues conclude. "Therefore, it is important to focus on strategies of proven benefit in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, including smoking cessation, lipid reduction, treatment of hypertension and diabetes, maintenance of a healthy weight, and physical activity."

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