Do Vitamins Lower Stroke Risk?

Although many people take vitamin supplements, proof of their health benefits has been scant. Now experts say there's enough evidence to conclude most don’t reduce the risk of stroke, but there are two that may.

Dr. Graeme Hankey, head of the Stroke Unit at Royal Perth Hospital in Australia, reviewed studies conducted between 1970 and 2012 on the effect of vitamin supplements on stroke risk, giving the most weight to those that were large, long-term studies in which participants were randomly assigned to take a particular vitamin supplement, or not.

The most rigorous studies found no link between taking vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene supplements and a reduced risk of stroke.

In fact, one study involving more than 82,400 people found taking beta-carotene (which the body can convert into vitamin A) was associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Although the increased risk was small, these findings suggest use of beta-carotene and vitamin A supplements should be discouraged, Hankey said.

Other studies found that for people who get enough vitamin B12 and folate from diet, taking additional supplements did not reduce stroke risk, Hankey said.

But the jury was still out on whether vitamin B3 (niacin) or vitamin D could reduce the risk of stroke. The results of a few large, long-term studies are being awaited, and may help answer this question, Hankey said.

Hankey said people should not take vitamin supplements unless they are deficient in a particular vitamin, which is rare in developed countries, he said.

The best ways to prevent stroke are to eat a healthy diet, exercise, don't smoke, and "have regular checks of blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar, and to keep them well-controlled," Hankey said.

Hankey's review was published online Aug. 7 in the journal Stroke.

Many of the studies Hankey reviewed did not randomly assign people to take a particular vitamin, but instead, observed a certain population over time. Without randomization, factors related to a person's lifestyle or upbringing could influence the results.

"We need large, reliable, randomized controlled trials to evaluate with minimal bias … the effect of interventions such as vitamins on stroke and other outcomes," Hankey said.

Nutritionists say it's best to get vitamins from food. While it's OK to take vitamin supplements, these pills should be viewed as exactly what their name suggests — a supplement to a healthy diet, rather than the basis for one, said Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, in an interview with MyHealthNewsDaily last year.

Pass it on: The most rigorous studies to date show use of vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene do not prevent stroke.

Follow Rachael Rettner on Twitter @RachaelRettner, or MyHealthNewsDaily @MyHealth_MHND. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Copyright 2012 MyHealthNewsDaily, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • NASA's carved pumpkins put everyone else's to shame

      That jack-o'-lantern you worked on all weekend doesn't look like much compared to the feats of engineering these NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers put into their annual pumpkin carving contest. This year's entrants brought it and there's video and photos to prove it.  Devoted NASA JPL mechanical engineer Aaron Yazzie was diligent in sharing inventive takes on the traditional Halloween decoration, much to our viewing pleasure. SEE ALSO: Carve your own 'Overwatch' pumpkins with these spooky stencils First up, the NASASMAP pumpkin. (That's NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive mission, for the uninitiated.) A @NASASMAP pumpkin #NASAPumpkin — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 Next up is a pumpkin holding real samples from Mars, glowing green and featuring a spacey take on the famous Forest Gump line. Mars Sample Return Pumpkin #NASAPumpkin — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 Popular Netflix show Stranger Things made it into the competition. A @Stranger_Things #NASAPumpkin — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 Now the pumpkins get more intricate.  Martian Sample Return Mission #NASAPumpkin — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 And now the engineers are just showing off. A "Happy 80th Birthday @NASAJPL " #NASAPumpkin with a birthday card to sign. (JPL was founded on Halloween 1936) — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 This one went off-season and pulled out a barbecue — and totally made it work. BBQ #NASAPumpkin on a hand made mini Flotron! — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 Things got political during the competition with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump pumpkins.  Political Commentary #NASAPumpkin — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 And then things got fun with Pac-Man. PAC-MAN #NASAPumpkin — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 Yazzie unofficially named his group's pumpkin the winner. You can judge for yourself. And best for last, my group's entry: Leonardo, the Mars Copter #NASAPumpkin! — Aaron Yazzie (@YazzieSays) October 27, 2016 You've got until Monday to attempt to make your pumpkin look half as good as all these. 

    • Jury acquits leaders of Oregon standoff of federal charges

      PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A jury delivered an extraordinary blow to the government Thursday in a long-running battle over the use of public lands when it acquitted all seven defendants involved in the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in rural southeastern Oregon.

      Associated Press
    • China to unveil its J-20 stealth fighter at air show

      China will unveil its new generation J-20 stealth fighter jet at an air show next week, the air force said on Friday, the first public showing of a warplane China hopes will narrow the military gap with the United States. The ability to project air power is key for China as it takes on a more assertive stance on territorial disputes with neighbors in the East China and South China seas. The Pentagon has said the fifth generation stealth aircraft China is developing, the J-20 and the J-31, are necessary for China's air force to evolve from a mostly territorial force to one that can carry out both offensive and defensive operations.

    • Pollster Frank Luntz: The Trump campaign ‘is an absolute joke’

      Perhaps best known as the wordsmith behind many Republican talking points, Luntz had quite a few zingers about Trump, including one about the GOP nominee’s sometimes stilted delivery of prepared speeches. “Stevie Wonder reads a teleprompter better than Donald Trump,” he jested.

      Yahoo News
    • Woman writes bad Yelp review because of a bodega cat, and the internet destroys her

      Don't mess with the bodega cats. Walk into any corner store a.k.a bodega in New York City, and you'll find a variety of household goods, beer, probably a deli and almost definitely a resident cat. The cats keep the rats and mice away and in return, they get to hang out inside and take naps on the chip shelf. @georgeferrer A photo posted by Bodega Cats (@bodegacatsofinstagram) on Oct 11, 2016 at 4:54am PDT Usually New Yorkers tend to ignore that bodega cats may be a health code violation, because most people would prefer to see cats hanging around than rats. But recently, one Yelper decided to break the golden bodega cat rule, and gave S.K. Deli Market in the East Village a 1 star review after noticing her bodega had a cat chilling on a stack of Budweisers. Big mistake. Reviewer Diana D, who has since deleted her post, claimed she had ordered from the bodega before, but decided to pick up her food instead of getting it delivered. That's when she noticed the adorable cat protecting its store. You gotta be a miserable gentrifying ass bitch to yelp about the bodega cat — سنكامي (@SynKami) October 24, 2016 "Besides being allergic, I wonder what the health code say(s) about this?" Diana asked in her review.  Twitter user SynKami took a screen grab of the review and shared it to his followers, harshly calling out Diana  for complaining about the bodega cat. Twitter promptly erupted, and the tweet has racked up more than 7,800 retweets at the time of writing. @SynKami @asherahresearch does she realize the cat is there to keep the rats away. Dumbazz — jaja (@JaJasTweets) October 24, 2016 @SynKami tbh, I don't trust a bodega that doesn't have a cat — Carlos LaBestia (@Arturo_Ulises) October 25, 2016 S.K. Deli Market's Yelp page was flooded with positive reviews on Wednesday, supporting both the deli and cat, who's name is Ciao Bella, according to one Yelper.   According to a piece published in the New York Times about the controversy over bodega cats, fines could cost the bodega $300 to $2,000. However, a fine for rodent feces found in a store can also land a bodega with a $300 fine. "It’s hard for bodega owners because they’re not supposed to have a cat, but they’re also not supposed to have rats,” José Fernández, the president of the Bodega Association of the United States, told the New York Times.

    • Colorado officer gets 16 years in prison for police shooting

      LA JUNTA, Colo. (AP) — A former small town Colorado police officer was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison for fatally shooting a man in the back after he followed the man into his mother's home, court officials said.

      Associated Press
    • Elon Musk has a crazy plan to make Tesla vehicles more affordable

      Over the past few months, we've heard rumblings about Tesla's efforts to eventually introduce a Tesla Network, effectively a ridesharing service operated by self-driving Tesla vehicles. During a Tesla event last week, where Tesla introduced hardware capable of supporting fully autonomous driving, the company noted that using a self-driving Tesla for ridesharing "will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year." Clearly, Tesla has its eyes on competing with the likes of Uber and Lyft, but the company isn't exactly looking to get rich off such a plan. On the contrary, it wants to put all of that ridesharing money into the pockets of Tesla drivers themselves. DON'T MISS:  We have some bad news about next year’s iPhone 8 When Musk was asked about the Tesla Network and how the rumored initiative fits into the company's overall vision of the future, Musk articulated that fully autonomous Tesla vehicles will be able to generate ridesharing income for owners while they don't need it. Consequently, this will help offset the overall purchase price of the car itself. "This would be something that would be a significant offset on the cost of ownership of a car and then a revenue generator for Tesla as well," Musk explained. "Obviously, the majority of the economics would go to the owner of the car. Sometimes, it's been characterized as Tesla versus Uber or Lyft or something like that. It's not Tesla versus Uber; it's the people versus Uber." It's an interesting strategy to say the least, but one has to wonder when this plan might actually become a reality. Additionally, it will be interesting to see if Tesla owners are even open to the idea of sending their expensive car out on the road to drive itself and random strangers around town.  

      BGR News
    • Popular Mechanics
    • Yemen rebel missile shot down near Mecca: coalition

      Yemeni rebels have launched one of their longest-range strikes against Saudi Arabia, firing a ballistic missile that was shot down near the holy city of Mecca, the Saudi-led coalition fighting them said Friday. Saudi Arabia has deployed Patriot missiles to intercept the rebel fire. Huthi rebels launched the missile "toward the Mecca area" on Thursday evening from their Saada province stronghold just across the border, a coalition statement said.

    • Clearing the ‘jungle’ migrant camp in Calais, France (57 photos)

      They made their way to the squalid camp in the French port of Calais from Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia and beyond, some fleeing war, others poverty, all dreaming of a better life in Britain. Some made it across the English Channel. Those who did not, thousands of them, spent months in the temporary society they’d built, sleeping in tents or shacks. As it grew, their sprawling camp became emblematic of Europe’s migrant crisis. French authorities cleared them out in just three days this week, the evacuation hastened when some of them set fire to parts of the camp. More than 5,000 were taken to centers elsewhere in France where they can get help applying for asylum. Britain took in some who already have family living there. And the rest said they plan to stay in the area, taking their chances and hoping they can still make it to Britain. (AP) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr .

      Yahoo News Photo Staff 56 min ago
    • Mom Pictured Holding Syringe While Allegedly Overdosing With Infant Son in Car: Cops

      In the picture, the woman's head is tilted back and her hand loosely grips a syringe.

      Inside Edition
    • Gene study clears 'Patient Zero' as cause of U.S. HIV epidemic

      By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Genes taken from archived blood samples show the U.S. AIDS epidemic started in New York in the early 1970s, definitively debunking the long-held belief that the virus was spread in the early 1980s by a flight attendant who became vilified as "Patient Zero" for seeding the U.S. outbreak. Scientists have long suspected that HIV had been circulating in the United States for a decade before the first few AIDS cases were identified in Los Angeles 1981. "What we've done here is tried to get at the origins of the first cases of AIDS that were ever noticed," said Michael Worobey, the evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona who led the study.

    • Democrats ask judge to sanction Republicans over Trump

      The Democratic National Committee on Wednesday asked a U.S. judge to hold the Republican National Committee in contempt of court over allegations that Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to intimidate minority voters. The DNC accused Republicans in a court filing of violating a longstanding consent decree, which restricts Republicans' ability to question voters at the polls and prevent those people from casting a ballot. During the presidential campaign, Republican nominee Trump has asked followers to "watch" for fraud in the Nov.8 presidential election in certain areas where minority voters reside, even though no evidence of fraud exists, the filing said.

    • Wisconsin student accused of assaulting 4 more women

      MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A University of Wisconsin-Madison student already accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment this month has been charged with sexually assaulting four other women since early 2015.

      Associated Press
    • Killer's mother assisting in lawsuit against 2 gun dealers

      PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Three years ago a 30-year-old mentally ill man fatally shot a California woman as she admired a scenic view on the Oregon coast, using one of three weapons acquired by the killer's mother from gun dealers.

      Associated Press
    • 2017 Lincoln Continental

      Like the brand itself, a work in progress.

      Car and Driver
    • Strong earthquakes hit central Italy (20 photos)

      Daylight revealed widespread damage in central Italy on Thursday after strong earthquakes overnight that caused panic and fear among residents just two months after a quake nearby killed hundreds. No one was killed this time, but dozens of people sustained minor injuries and about four others more serious ones, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said. Many residents of Campi, a town of about 200, slept in their cars as aftershocks rocked the Umbria, Marche and Lazio regions throughout the night. The earthquake on Aug. 24 in the same area killed nearly 300 people and destroyed several towns. (Reuters) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr .

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • Philippines' Duterte says God warned him off swearing

      (Note: Obscenity in paragraph nine) MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made a promise to stop swearing, saying God spoke to him during a flight from Japan on Thursday and warned him the plane would crash if he kept using bad language. The maverick former mayor, famous for his profanity that has included outbursts aimed at Pope Francis and U.S. President Barack Obama, said he heard a voice and realized it was God, telling him to clean up his act. "I was looking at the skies while I was coming over here ... everybody was asleep, snoring, but a voice said that, 'you know, if you don't stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now'," Duterte said at a news conference late on Thursday upon arrival in his home city of Davao.

    • London stocks higher on GDP data as other markets drag

      London stocks rose Thursday after better-than-expected British economic growth data, but other leading markets were listless despite a raft of solid earnings reports.

    • Video: Daughter Surprises Her Dad With Road Trip to See the Cubs

      Jim Beaumont was serving in WWII the last time the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series.

      ABC News q