In a recent study from the University of Maine and elsewhere, scientists found using B vitamins to lower homocysteine levels is an effective means of reducing blood pressure.
Vitamin B may be especially useful in the management of drug-resistant high blood pressure.
Approximately 12.8% of the world population experiences drug-resistant hypertension, defined as a failure to reach a target blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg using three classes of antihypertension medication.
A newer definition of hypertension, 130/80 mmHg, makes successful management even more difficult to achieve.
Homocysteine is an intermediate compound involved in vitamin regulation. Elevated homocysteine is the result of genetic mutations or inadequate stores of vitamins B6, B12, folate and riboflavin (B2).
High homocysteine is linked to impaired nitrous oxide synthesis, which is related to small vessel vasoconstriction and is a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and neurological diseases.
Lowering of homocysteine is relatively inexpensive because it is achieved by providing vitamin supplementation.
While recent literature supports the efficacy and safety of homocysteine-lowering in the treatment of hypertension, the validity of this generalization has been challenged.
In the study, the team reviewed the research literature.
They found that supplementation with sufficient nondietary-sourced vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B6, folate and B12 can safely lower blood pressure by as much as 6 to 13 mmHg.
The updated reference value for normal homocysteine is ≤10 μmol/L. However, many laboratories define normal homocysteine levels as high as 11.4 μmol/L.
Researchers argue that there is a need to update laboratory values for normal homocysteine and to determine whether risk-protective values should be even lower.
Vitamin treatment is a potentially important adjunct to drug treatment of drug-resistant hypertension, but therapy should be conducted under the direction of a physician or qualified healthcare provider.
The research was published in the American Journal of Hypertension and conducted by Merrill Elias et al.
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