Vitamin B is an important group of nutrients that the body must acquire through the diet in order to transform food into energy, maintain a strong immune system, balance the many body’s hormones and perform a variety of tasks. Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B3, Folic Acid, Pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5), Vitamin B6 (or Pyridoxine) are all important in supporting cardiovascular health. However, Sugar, white flour, alcohol, stress, environmental pollution and overcooking all deplete B Vitamins in the body.
THE JAPAN COLLABORATIVE COHORT STUDY
A Japanese study dubbed “the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study” showed that foods rich in B vitamins like folic acid and B-6 may reduce the risk of death from stroke and heart problems.
The researchers examined data from 23,119 men and 35,611 women between ages 40 and 79 who completed questionnaires about dietary habits. They found that at a median of 14 years follow-up, 986 people had died from stroke, 424 from heart disease, and 2,087 from all diseases related to the cardiovascular system.
Patients were divided into five groups based on their intake of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Researchers compared people with the diets lowest and highest for each nutrient and found that higher consumption of folic acid and B6 was associated with significantly fewer deaths from heart failure in men. In women, they detected significantly fewer deaths from stroke, heart disease, and total cardiovascular deaths.
Vitamin B12 was not found to be associated with a reduced risk of mortality.
The researchers say B6 and folic acid may fight cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is believed to cause damage to the inner linings of arteries, promotes blood clots and causes heart disease. The researchers say the Japan findings on the value of B vitamins were consistent with studies in North America and Europe.
Sources of folic acid include vegetables, fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans, and legumes. B-6 sources include fish, vegetables, liver, meats, whole grains, and fortified cereals.