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Folate and B Vitamins Do Not Reduce Cardiovascular Risk

No cardiovascular disease reduction in women at high risk

TUESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women at high risk for cardiovascular disease derive no reduction in cardiovascular events or mortality from a combination pill of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, according to a report published in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christine M. Albert, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 5,442 women aged 42 and older with a history of cardiovascular disease or at least three coronary risk factors, who were randomized to receive either a pill combining folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo.

The cohort was treated for 7.3 years, during which time there were 796 women who experienced a cardiovascular disease event, of whom 406 were in the treatment group and 390 were in the placebo group, the researchers report. The risk of composite cardiovascular disease and mortality were similar in both groups. In a subgroup of 150 patients each from the two groups, mean plasma homocysteine levels decreased by 18.5 percent more in the treatment group than in the placebo group, the investigators found.

"Our results are consistent with prior randomized trials performed primarily among men with established vascular disease and do not support the use of folic acid and B vitamin supplements as preventive interventions for cardiovascular disease in these high-risk-fortified populations," the authors conclude.

Several of the study authors disclose relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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