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Study finds no heart health benefits from folic acid

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have been taking folic acid supplements to treat poor heart health may want to consider blood pressure and cholesterol testing to determine if their condition has worsened. A recent study has found that the nutrient does little to support a healthy heart.

Recently, folic acid has been touted as an effective means for lowering blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is thought to play a role in heart and blood vessel disease. However, the new study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, found that folic acid does little to ward off heart attack, stroke or cancer.

Researchers tested the effects of the nutrient on nearly 40,000 participants. Half of the group was given active supplements while the remaining participants received a placebo. Although blood levels of homocysteine were lower in the group that received active folic acid supplements, these participants were no less likely to develop heart problems during the course of the five-year study.

"The doses of folic acid used in all the trials included in this meta-analysis exceeded those required for near-maximal reduction in homocysteine levels," the authors wrote in their report, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "The randomized trials in the present meta-analysis found no evidence of benefit with treatment continued for more than five years."

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