Vitamin B Benefits for Your Heart

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 05/01/2014

B vitamins can save your heart and your health.We often hear about B vitamins as the “stress vitamins” because they’re depleted in time of stress—but what we don’t hear often enough is how important vitamin B benefits are for your heart.

In fact, I was one of the first cardiologists to get the word out about this critical connection, especially when it comes to homocysteine levels.

Vitamin B Benefits: Reduce Harmful Homocysteine Levels

One of the largest vitamin B benefits is that they help to reduce harmful homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an ugly amino acid that causes your body to lay down sticky, artery-hardening platelets in blood vessels. It results from your body's ineffective break-down of methionine, an essential amino acid found in all proteins but in greater amounts in animal proteins. Meat, eggs, milk, and cheese have two to three times the methionine that grains and vegetables do.

Some homocysteine is fine; your body is equipped to handle it. But excess homocysteine levels is like having a silent, asymptomatic killer lurking in your bloodstream. So, bringing down your homocysteine levels is important to heart health. 

How Can You Keep Homocysteine from Ganging Up On You?

Data from such large and respected trials as the Nurses' Health Study and the Harvard Physicians' Study have shown that daily consumption of these three key dietary vitamins,including vitamin B, neutralizes high homocysteine levels:

  • 800 mcg folic acid
  • 40 mg vitamin B6
  • 200 mg vitamin B12

Unfortunately, the average dietary intake of vitamin B6 is estimated to be in the range of 1.5 mg per day, and most of us get only 250 mcg folic acid on a regular basis. B12 levels are usually low, too. So, it’s critical to get these nutrients in supplement form in order to get the full vitamin B benefits.

Now it's your turn: Have you found that vitamin B benefits your homocysteine levels?

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