Click to read: Part 2

There is quite a bit of controversy these days surrounding which vitamin supplements promote health and which are more of a waste of money. For example, in recent news headlines, some vitamins were discovered in clinical research studies to be ineffective. But, that is not the case with B vitamins—such as folate.

Folate is an important vitamin. Folate deficiencies can lead to many disorders, including birth defects like spina bifida. Folate is recommended by many health care providers, for lowering the risk of age-related diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. In fact, folate is on the list of prescribed supplements that many top neurologists recommend for brain health. What’s good for the heart is good for the brain, and, recent research endorses folate supplements to promote heart health, lending itself to longevity.

What the Research Says About Vitamin B

In addition to folate, other B vitamins are being investigated in clinical research studies for heart health properties, as well as their role in fighting cancer. These include vitamin B6 and B12.

The research has some conflicting findings, and to date, study conclusions on B6 and B12 are mixed. Some studies suggest that taking 3 B vitamins—B6, B12, and folate– together can lower the risk of age-related diseases, and some do not.

Several clinical trials involving B vitamins and heart disease have discovered that there is not likely any benefit to taking B12 or B6 once heart disease has been diagnosed. But, this is not the case with folate. To date, no randomized controlled clinical trial has been conducted to measure the effects of folic acid in those already diagnosed with heart disease.

Recent study findings suggest that the typical dose of folic acid (folate) in a multivitamin may help to prevent some age-related diseases—particularly for those who don’t get enough folate in their daily diet.

Studies on Stroke and Folate

Clinical trials on the mortality (death) rate after a stroke—before and after folate fortification—revealed that there is a lower incidence of death from stroke in those who took folate fortification.

Folate and Cancer

The primary therapeutic effect of folate is to lower homocysteine levels.

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a common amino acid; the levels are measured in the blood. Homocysteine primarily comes from meat. It has been linked to cancer, and heart disease, and is associated with low levels of B6, B12, and folate.

Observational studies have discovered that those who have higher than average levels of folate in their system from diet or supplementation, for 15 years or more, have a lower risk of colon and breast cancer. This is an important finding for alcoholics or those who drink large amounts of alcohol, because alcohol interferes with normal absorption of folate—inactivating the folate circulating in the blood.

The Nurses Health Study found that a higher level of folate intake appeared to diminish the increased risk of breast cancer in women who ingested more than one alcoholic drink per day.

Learn more about B vitamins and find out what the Institute of Medicine recommends as a daily dose of folate and other B vitamins by (CLICKING HERE) for part II of this article.

Purchase pharmaceutical grade folate and other B vitamins by (CLICKING HERE).

Click to read: Part 2


Harvard Health