Why folic acid prevents your first heart attack, but not your second

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by Jeff Jurmain

 

A new study has shone light on why science has had a challenging time proving that folic acid prevents heart attacks. This strong B-vitamin has been shown in big, population studies to assist minimize the incidence of heart attacks. But in other research, on heart attack individuals, this benefit didn’t appear to exist. Nicely, we might know why now, and the answer is straightforward. This discovery reinforces the crucial nature of making certain individuals at danger of heart problems spend attention to their intake of folic acid.

Researchers in the UK investigated the function that folic acid — known as folate when it is discovered naturally in fruits and vegetables — plays in shielding the body from a heart attack. It is known that folic acid lowers “homocysteine” levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that, when in high amounts, can be harmful.

This lowering of homocysteine need to, in theory, lower the danger of heart attack. But, for some cause, studies of folic acid have not shown that anticipated advantage. But the new study has located a surprisingly basic explanation. Lowering homocysteine prevents platelets sticking, which stops blood clots. This is an action that aspirin also performs. So, if folks in the research had been taking aspirin, there would be no additional benefit in lowering homocysteine with folic acid.

And they found that aspirin was in truth extensively used by participants in the trials. This is because they have been mostly carried out in individuals who had currently had a heart attack or other heart diseases.

Researchers showed that there was a distinction in the reduction in heart attacks amongst the five studies with the lowest aspirin use (60% of individuals took it) and the 5 with the highest use (91% took aspirin). In the research, folic acid lowered the danger of heart attack only by about six percent. But it would have been 15% if aspirin had been taken out of the equation. This comes from 75 research involving about 50,000 participants and clinical trials involving about 40,000 participants.

Regardless of becoming so basic an explanation, it has essential implications. We need to not be closing the door on folic acid, due to the fact this B-vitamin could still be essential for folks who have not had a heart attack. Due to the fact these people may not be taking aspirin. Folic acid could aid shield the heart.

A protected dose of folic acid is something up to 400 micrograms a day. Going above that must only be carried out with a doctor’s consent. As well, folate is found in higher levels in dark green leafy vegetables, oranges, other fruits, rice, brewer’s yeast, beef liver, beans, asparagus, kelp, soybeans, and soy flour.

 

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