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The Importance of B Vitamins to Ensure Overall Heart Health

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The Importance of B Vitamins to Ensure Overall Heart Health

February is American Heart Month and it’s a perfect opportunity to take a look at your heart health and the activities you’re doing (or not doing) to protect it. Did you know, approximately every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease or stroke? With an average of 2,150 deaths per day, cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined. While these rates are slowly improving, they are still shockingly high, particularly when lifestyle changes can make such a dramatic improvement!

The American Heart Association (AHA) has an impact goal “to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020.” The seven key factors and behaviors that decrease risks for stroke and heart disease are:

  1. Not smoking
  2. Being physically active
  3. Eating a healthy diet
  4. Maintaining a healthy body weight
  5. Controlling cholesterol
  6. Controlling blood pressure
  7. Controlling blood sugar

Clearly, lifestyle makes a difference in heart disease and stroke risk. As individuals, our health is our responsibility, and we need to take steps to be heart healthy. And as research is showing, one step is making sure we’re getting B vitamins in our diet.

A recent study published in the online issue of Neurology® suggests that vitamin B may help guard against stroke. The study from Zhengzhou University in China analyzed the findings of 14 clinical trials totaling nearly 55,000 people. They followed the participants for a minimum of six months. Overall, vitamin B supplements reduced the risk of stroke by 7 percent. 

Further support of B vitamins (including folic acid, B12 and B6) comes from the National Institutes of Health stating that B vitamins might reduce cardiovascular disease risk by lowering homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is thought to cause the lining of the blood vessels to become hardened and narrowed increasing the amount of work the heart must do, leading to heart disease. A double-blind clinical trial showed that Cooper Complete® Iron-Free formulation lowers homocysteine by 17.2 percent.

Swiss researchers confirmed the importance of B vitamins in a study of 200 men and women who took either B vitamins or a placebo after they had surgery to open their arteries. The group who took the B vitamins had levels of homocysteine 40 percent lower than the group who took the placebo.

Food sources of B vitamins include leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, legumes and whole grains. And since according to AHA, less than 1 percent of U.S. adults meet its definition of an “Ideal Healthy Diet,” vitamin supplementation is also important. All Cooper Complete multivitamins contain high levels of the B vitamins.

High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is a blood test that measures inflammation in the body. The Physicians’ Health Study, a clinical trial of 18,000 apparently healthy physicians found that elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with a threefold increase of heart attack. And in the Harvard Women’s Healthy Study (39,876 female health professionals followed for 19 years), CRP test results were more accurate than cholesterol levels in predicting heart problems.

High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Levels and Cardiovascular Disease

  • Normal range: 0.16–3.00 mg/L
  • Lower than 1.0 mg/L: low risk for cardiovascular disease
  • 1.0–3.0 mg/L: average risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Higher than 3.0 mg/L: high risk for cardiovascular disease

Levels increase with age, high blood pressure, alcohol use, smoking, low levels of physical activity, chronic fatigue, insulin resistance and diabetes and depression. Research conducted at The Cooper Institute found that following Cooper Complete Iron-Free vitamin supplementation, the prevalence of patients with a hsCRP level greater than 3.0 mg/L reduced from 30 to 14 percent.

To learn more about Cooper Complete, call 888.393.2221 or click here.

Article provided by Cathy Sides, Director of Customer Relations, Cooper Concepts Inc.

Reference: Heart disease and stroke continue to threaten U.S. health, AHA