Stroke Patients Should Not Rely on Vitamin B to Protect Against Second Occurrence

by Jodee on August 13, 2010

People who have had a stroke and have been taking Vitamin B supplements to guard against a subsequent occurrence or a heart attack may not be protected, if the results of a new study are accurate.

Earlier medical studies had found that elevated levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Taking Vitamin B supplements lowers the level of this amino acid was thought to lower the risk of this type of health issue.

Dr. Graeme J. Hankey, of the Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia, has stated that while taking Vitamin B supplements is safe, it doesn’t lower an individual’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Hankey’s study involved 8,164 participants who were divided into two groups. One group was given Vitamin B supplements, while the other was given a placebo. The study participants were followed for over three years. During that time, 15 percent of the patients taking Vitamin B had a second stroke and 17 percent of those issued the placebo also had one.

How to Lower the Risk of Stroke

Making lifestyle changes can help to lower the risk of stroke. Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is one way to do so. Whole grain products, including breads, cereals and brown rice, are also good choices. Not only do they help to lower cholesterol levels, but they contain fiber that helps to keep one feeling full for a longer time, which may make it easier to resist the temptation to eat between meals.

Meat, fish and poultry can also be included in a healthy eating plan. Making a point of eating fish like herring, salmon and trout a couple of times a week is a good choice, since they contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower the risk of coronary issues.

Dairy products that are low in fat are better choices than those made with whole milk. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are tasty foods that can form part of a healthy eating plan.

Prepared foods can contain a high amount of sodium and should be limited if the goal is to lower the risk of stroke. Instead of adding salt during cooking or at the table, a better choice is to experiment with herbs and spices to add flavor. Keep in mind that the recommended daily salt intake is approximately one teaspoon and many foods contain a much higher level than that.

Smoking will definitely increase the likelihood of having a stroke. It can be a difficult habit to break, but there is help available. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist about treatment options.

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