Folic acid supplementation might help lower the risk for stroke by reducing homocysteine levels, according to a study from Ningbo University in China. The link between homocysteine levels and ischemic stroke and coronary heart disease was compared in 5,935 people from 60 communities. Folic acid’s influence on homocysteine levels also was evaluated in 501 people with essential hypertension, who took folic acid supplements for an average of 2.5 years. Results showed that elevated homocysteine levels increased the risk for stroke by 2.4-fold in men and 2.7-fold in women. Compared with normal levels of homocysteine, those people with the highest levels had up to almost a five-fold increased risk. No significant risk for coronary heart disease was noted. Notably, folic acid supplementation reduced homocysteine levels by almost 28% in patients with hypertension.
Han L, Wu Q, Wang C, et al: Homocysteine, ischemic stroke, and coronary heart disease in hypertensive patients. Stroke 2015;June 2nd.