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B-Vitamin Therapy May Not Be Useful

Last Updated: October 11, 2010.

Routine supplementation with folic acid for five years has no effect on cardiovascular outcomes, cancer incidence, or mortality, according to a meta-analysis published Oct. 11 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Routine supplementation with folic acid for five years has no effect on cardiovascular outcomes, cancer incidence, or mortality, according to a meta-analysis published Oct. 11 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Robert Clarke, F.R.C.P., of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of eight trials involving 37,485 subjects with increased risk of cardiovascular disease to study the effect of folic acid supplementation on plasma homocysteine levels and cardiovascular and other diseases.

They found that allocation of folic acid resulted in a 25 percent reduction in homocysteine levels, but during the median follow-up of five years, folic acid appeared to have no significant impact on vascular outcomes; 9,326 major vascular events, 3,010 cancers, and 5,125 deaths were reported.

"Dietary supplementation with folic acid to lower homocysteine levels had no significant effects within 5 years on cardiovascular events or on overall cancer or mortality in the populations studied," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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