Scientists believe that B vitamins have the power to lower the blood level of homocysteine, a compound that contributes to atherosclerosis.
A group of Taiwanese researchers recently conducted a study in which they divided 506 healthy people 40 – 89 years old into two groups: one which took a combination of folic acid, B12 and B6, and the other that took a placebo.
They observed that among the group that took the vitamins, the individuals with highest levels of homocysteine benefitted the most and lowered their risk of developing clinical-stage atherosclerosis.
The researchers believe that high levels of homocysteine are dangerous even in those who have normal levels of vitamin B in their blood, and suggest that those individuals use nutritional supplements.
However, they also admit that more studies need to be done to examine the exact nature of this association.
The results of the study were published in the December issue of the journal Stroke.
According to the National Institutes of Health, heart attack, to which people with atherosclerosis are particularly prone, is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.