The American Heart Association issued an advisory in September 1997 noting the importance of the new evidence on the role of homocysteine. Before the association can identify high homocysteine blood levels as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, clinical research trials must demonstrate that reducing blood levels of homocysteine definitely lowers risk for cardiovascular disease. And this result must be shown in a study with two groups of two people, only one of which was tested to reduce homocysteine levels.
Deficiencies can be readily reversed by folate with B-12 and B-6. Clinical trials are now needed to test the long-term effects of such treatment on the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
According to Ronald Krauss, M.D., chairman of the AHA Nutrition Committee, individuals should achieve desired vitamin intake via a healthy balanced diet. Vitamin supplements should be used "only when diet is not adequate to achieve these intakes."
Vitamin B-6 is found in cereal grains, some fruits, nuts and meats. The recommended daily allowance of B-6 for adults is 2 milligrams (a milligram is 1,000th of a gram). Excess B-6, above 2 grams per day, has caused nervous system damage, experts warn.
Folic acid is found in liver, green leafy vegetables, peas, beans and some
fruits. The daily recommended dietary allowance is 400 micrograms (a microgram is 1 millionth of a gram). Folic acid deficiency in
Contact: Carol Bullock
American Heart Association