Friday, May 09, 2008


The role of homocysteine and the heart has never been very well worked out. All the earlier evidence from the Framingham days seem to suggest that homocysteine is a coronary risj factors and so test kits were devised to try and measure homocysteine in the mistaken belief that should serum homocysteine levels be high, lowering them with folates will lower our coronary risk. But that has never been shown. Recently, we have seen the publication in the May 7th issue of the J of the American Medical Association, of the WAFACS ( Women Anti-oxidant Folic Acid Cardiovascular study ). This is a 7 year study of women taking vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid, to prevent heart disease. Basically, it showed no difference. The placebo arm and the treatment arm were the same. The conclusion of the authors were that vitamin B made no difference as far as CVS events were concerned. Locally, we still see homocysteine being measured in our standard medical checkup blood test profiles. Its usefulness must now be in great doubt. Looking at a wider angle, the whole scene of oral anti-oxidants in the prevention of CAD and CAD events, has been shrouded in controversy. The mechanistic explanation and role of anti-oxidants is not in doubt. But somehow, all the clinical trials with various kinds of oral anti-oxidants have met with failures, after failures, especially, the vitamin E group of studies. Obviously, there is much that we yet do not know.
I thought that it was important to highlight the fact that Vitamin B and folates for the heart does almost no good and should not be done. Take your vitamin Bs ( if you must ) for any other reasons except the heart please.

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