Folic Acid May Reduce Cholesterol Heart Risk

Folic acid supplements may help reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with a family history of high cholesterol. Folic acid therapy may provide a safe and inexpensive tool to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Experts believe that folic acid -- a B vitamin found in green, leafy vegetables, beans and -- reduces risk for heart disease by lowering blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.

The Dutch researchers sought to determine the effects of folate supplementation on a group of patients known to be at increased risk for heart disease due to a family history of high cholesterol. Twenty patients were asked to take either (an inactive) placebo or 5 milligrams of folic acid daily for 4 weeks, then switch over to the other regimen for a second 4-week period.

Examination of the subject's cardiovascular function revealed that folic acid supplementation improved the ability of blood vessels to dilate. When blood vessels are flexible -- contracting or expanding in volume as needed -- risks for high blood pressure and clots may be reduced. This restoration of vessel responsiveness is especially important in patients with high cholesterol, who are at increased risk for narrowed arteries and dangerous clots.

Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association July 27,1999;100:335-338.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

This is an important study published in a very traditional and prestigious medical journal. It would seem reasonable for all individuals with heart disease to be put on this supplement, especially if one has elevated homocysteine levels.

I will start including this regimen for all my heart disease patients who are receiving chelation therapy. It is relatively inexpensive and, as far as we know, virtually without side effects.

However, one important principle to remember with all supplement therapy is that it is possible to develop an allergic reaction to any item that is consumed regularly. That is why it is important to have some means to determine an allergic reaction to your supplements.

Skilled muscle testing is probably the most ideal means of making this assessment.

In our office, Jody and Lynn, our therapists, and Sharon, our diet coach, perform these assessments. The muscle testing is part of a broader nervous system recalibration that can actually remove the allergy to the supplement if it exists.

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