A recent study found no significant effects of daily dietary supplementation with vitamin B or with omega 3 fatty acids on risk of major cardiovascular events in patients with established coronary or cerebrovascular disease.
It was widely believed that dietary intake of B vitamins (folate and vitaminB-6) and omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids would benefit cardiac patients by preventing further heart disease. A large number of observational studies supported this belief.
AdvertisementDietary supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B-12 typically lowers the levels of homocysteine in the body. High levels of homocysteine are associated with higher risks of coronary heart disease and stroke. This fact raises the prospect that dietary supplementation with B vitamins might reduce the risk of these diseases. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids necessary for human health. Fish and other seafood are rich sources.
Evidence - A randomised, placebo controlled trial was performed to know if dietary supplementations of these nutrients would benefit heart patients. The trial was done with the involvement of a network of 417 cardiologists, neurologists, and other physicians. Participants included 2501 patients with a history of heart diseases like myocardial infarction (heart attack), unstable angina, or ischaemic stroke. Daily dietary supplements of B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids were provided. Median duration of supplementation was 4.7 years. Results were published in the British Medical Journal recently.
B vitamins were found to lower the blood levels of homocysteine by 19% compared with placebo. Dietary omega 3 fatty acids succeeded in raising the blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids by 37% compared with placebo. Neither of them had any significant effect on major vascular events.
The results of the study do not support routine use of dietary supplements containing B vitamins or omega 3fatty acids for prevention of cardiovascular disease in people with a history of ischaemic heart disease or ischaemic stroke, at least when supplementation is introduced after the acute phase of the initial event.
Reference: British Medical Journal
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