Folic Acid Can Help Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke
Folic acid is not only a safeguard against spina bifida and other birth defects in babies – it may also prevent heart disease and strokes, two of Northern Ireland’s biggest killers.
Research at the University of Ulster has shown that folic acid and three other related B-vitamins can prevent the accumulation of a high blood level of homocysteine, a new risk factor for heart disease and strokes.
The risk of high homocysteine is similar to the risk of high cholesterol - but the good news is that it is much easier to lower homocysteine levels through increased intake of folic acid.
As well as folic acid, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6 can help to prevent a build up of homocysteine.
Professor Helene McNulty, Professor of Human Nutrition and Dietetics at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster, said: “As the folic acid story unfolds, it is becoming clear that its importance goes beyond its major role for mothers-to-be and that, in fact, it is not just a woman’s nutrient.
“New and emerging roles for this important vitamin include its probable role in protecting against heart disease and strokes by preventing the accumulation of homocysteine.”
Professor McNulty’s research confirmed that a fourth B-vitamin – riboflavin – can also play an important role in protecting against heart disease and strokes.
Around 12% of people have a particular genetic make-up which predisposes them to high homocysteine levels. Riboflavin, which is found in dairy foods like milk and yoghurt, prevents the build up of homocysteine in people with this genetic make-up.
Professor McNulty said: “The evidence appears to suggest that if riboflavin intake is good the genetic predisposition towards elevated homocysteine may be overcome. This is a classic example of what scientists call a gene-nutrient interaction”.
“To protect against elevated homocysteine in all individuals, including those with the genetic predisposition, a good intake of all four B-vitamins is recommended.”
This research was carried out with funding from the Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke Association and the EU.
David Young | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...