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B Vitamins Fail to Reduce Deaths in Kidney Patients

Folic acid also not helpful for those with end-stage renal disease

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, treatment with folic acid and B vitamins did not reduce their mortality or lower their incidence of cardiovascular events, according to the results of a study published in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Rex L. Jamison, M.D., of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California, and colleagues analyzed data on 2,056 subjects with a mean age in the mid-60s who had advanced chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease. Participants received either a daily dose of 40 milligrams of folic acid, 100 mg of vitamin B6, and 2 mg of vitamin B12, or a placebo. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality, and the secondary measures included myocardial infarction, stroke and lower-extremity amputation.

The vitamin group's homocysteine levels dropped by nearly 26 percent after three months of treatment. However, the B vitamin treatment did not affect all-cause mortality or reduce the risk of any of the major vascular events utilized as secondary end points.

A meta-analysis may shed additional light on the usefulness of supplemental B vitamins on preventing vascular disease, states an accompanying editorial, which adds that the findings present "insufficient evidence to justify routine use of homocysteine-lowering vitamin supplements for the prevention of vascular events among individuals at high risk for vascular disease."

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