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Combination of 3 Vitamins May Lower Homocysteine Levels

A recent study from researchers in the Netherlands found that supplementing with B vitamins may improve the health of people with celiac disease - although their findings are also important for those without the disease.

The study, published in the March 2009 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, found that daily supplements of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid significantly lowered levels of an amino acid called homocysteine.

While people with celiac disease (intolerance to wheat or gluten) are at particularly high risk for elevated homocysteine levels, the amino acid can also create a number of problems in those without the disease.

Homocysteine is a normal byproduct of metabolism. Even in those without celiac disease, high levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke as well as cognitive decline.

For the study, researchers recruited 51 people with celiac disease and 50 healthy controls between the ages of 18 and 63 years old.

Of the participants with celiac disease, half reported taking B vitamins daily. None of the healthy controls took B vitamins.

After analyzing blood samples, the researchers found that those who took B vitamin supplements had homocysteine levels 36% lower than those who didn't, or the healthy controls.

This study seems to add support to several previous trials that show a combination of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid can drastically reduce homocysteine levels.

Lowering homocysteine isn't the only health benefit attributed to B vitamins. They have also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and may also protect against certain cancers.
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