Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 cut hip fracture risk after a stroke

March 07, 2005

The risk of breaking a hip is much higher in stroke sufferers than in other people their age with an increased risk of 2 to 4 times. The connection between stroke and hip fracture is thought to be elevated homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine increases the risk of ischemic stroke (the most common form of stroke) and hip fractures in elderly men and women.

This study was performed to see if giving vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation after a stroke would decrease the risk of hip fracture in patients with paralysis of one side of the body.

In a double-blinded, randomized, placebo controlled study, 628 consecutive patients 65 years of age or older were enrolled into the study. The patients had residual paralysis on one side of the body remaining at least one year after their first ischemic stroke. It was found that the patients had elevated homocysteine at the start of the study. The patients were given Folic Acid 5mg and Methylcobalamin 1,500mcg daily for two years or two inactive placebo pills. At the end of two years the patients receiving the vitamins had a 38% drop in their homocysteine levels, and the patients on placebo had a 31% increase in their homocysteine level. The number of falls between the two groups was the same but the number of hip fractures was startlingly different. There were only 6 broken hips in the vitamin group and 27 broken hips in the placebo group. The hip fractures were not based on bone mineral density but some other biological process involved with elevated homocysteine. The study is published in the March 2nd, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Both Alpha and Gamma Tocopherol as supplements reduce prostate cancer risk

The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-carotene Prevention (ATBC) Study of 29,133 men aged 50 to 69 demonstrated that daily vitamin E supplementation with Alpha-Tocopherol reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 32%. When researchers compared a subset of men with prostate cancer vs. cancer free men it was found that higher levels of protection were associated with taking alpha-Tocopherol as a supplement and that both alpha-Tocopherol and gamma-Tocopherol gave similar levels of protection with alpha-Tocopherol decreasing prostate cancer risk by 51% and gamma-Tocopherol decreasing cancer risk by about 43%. This supports the original findings of the ATBC Study that taking Vitamin E supplements decreased the risk of prostate cancer. The research was performed by the National Cancer Institute and is published in the March 2nd, 2005 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.