B vitamins reduce cardiac events after angioplasty

Just six months of homocysteine-lowering therapy with vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid can substantially reduce the risk of cardiac events, say Swiss researchers.

In their trial, 553 patients who had a successful angioplasty randomly received either a combination of folic acid (1 mg/day), B12 (cyanocobalamin, 400 mg/day) and B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride, 10 mg/day) or a placebo for six months.


After being followed for an average of 11 months, patients taking the vitamin combination had significantly fewer cardiac events (non-fatal heart attack, death or a need for repeat surgery) than those taking the placebo (15.4 per cent compared with 22.8 per cent).


Although researchers still do not know the optimal doses of each of the B-vitamins used, these results support those of other studies showing that simple nutritional therapy is among the most effective ways to preserve heart health, and is one that can easily be incorporated into hospital regimes (JAMA, 2002; 288: 973-9).

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