Vitamin B could sink stroke risk

By Shayna Brouker • Published: January 30th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Your daily dose of vitamins might do more than keep your skin supple and your energy levels up — it could protect your vital organs. A recent study from the University of China found that a dose of vitamin B a day might keep strokes away. The study found that taking vitamin B supplements reduced the risk of stroke by 7 percent. It did not, however, appear to reduce the severity of strokes or the risk of death from stroke.

This new information is the latest in a line of research investigating the effects of B vitamins on stroke. Other studies conducted in the past have shown that taking vitamin B has the opposite effect — increasing the risk for stroke. The University of China researchers obtained their data by reviewing 14 clinical trials and combing through data from 55,000 people.

While the usual suspects such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity can cause strokes, vitamin deficiency can be a culprit as well. Aside from just simply not getting enough, factors like a person’s absorption rate and high blood pressure could affect how well vitamin B works, too.

Vitamin B has a long history of keeping bodies in working order. For example, during World War Two, it was included in soldiers’ rations. It helps keep your fingernails and hair healthy. And B12 in particular is responsible for making red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body.

Vitamin B deficiency can result in fatigue, lightheadedness and sore or bleeding gums, among other things. When the deficiency is prolonged, it could even lead to depression, numbness in fingers and toes and dementia. Nosh on dairy, meat and eggs, and of course fresh fruits and veggies to get your fill. And talk to your doc before taking a supplement, if needed. A little extra B might just help you bolster your anti-stroke defense.