Patients at risk of heart disease should consider increasing their intake of folic acid, a London cardiologist has said.
According to Dr David Wald, a senior lecturer at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, an analysis of separate studies looking at the unproven link between the amino acid homocysteine and heart disease has suggested that those with heart disease could benefit from folic acid.
Dr Wald found that patients with lower levels of homocysteine had a substantially lower risk of heart disease.
Folic acid has been proven to lower homocysteine levels and Dr Wald said that "it follows that increasing folic acid consumption will reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by an amount related to the homocysteine reduction achieved".
"The conclusion that homocysteine is a cause of cardiovascular disease explains the observations from all the different types of study, even if the results from one type of study are, on their own, insufficient to reach that conclusion," Dr Wald wrote in the British Medical Journal.
"We therefore take the view that the evidence is now sufficient to justify action on lowering homocysteine concentrations, although the position should be reviewed as evidence from ongoing clinical trials emerges," he concluded.