Topic: Heart Attack Prevention

Dr. Lee:
What vitamins lower homocysteine levels?

I have been encouraging some of my patients to take a multivitamin that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid along with vitamins B6 and B12. I also encourage them to take folic acid fortified cereal, is that the right thing to do?

Dr. Gregory Thomas:

Folic acid, vitamin B6, and B12 are the three vitamins that have been shown to lower homocysteine levels. Researchers are still trying to determine the doses that are required.

We have not proven whether lowering homocysteine levels with these vitamins will actually decrease the chance of a heart attack. I personally think lowering homocysteine will ultimately be proven to be beneficial. Just remember, 20 years ago we were not even sure whether lowering cholesterol would be beneficial. Many of us at that time believed that lowering cholesterol would be important, now numerous studies have conclusively shown that lowering cholesterol prevent heart attacks.

Therefore, I think it is a good idea to recommend a multivitamin that contains folic acid and other B vitamins as well as eating folic acid fortified cereals.

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For more information, please see Cholesterol Center.

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Last Editorial Review: 8/30/2000