HEALTH

Folic acid/B vitamin combo shows no reduced rate of cardio events

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Women at high-risk of cardiovascular disease who took a daily supplement of folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12 for seven years did not have an overall reduced rate of cardiovascular events, despite a significant lowering of homocysteine levels, according to a study in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Homocysteine [an amino acid produced by the body] levels have been directly associated with cardiovascular risk in observational studies; and daily supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, or a combination have been shown to reduce homocysteine levels to varying degrees in intervention studies,” the authors noted. Observational data suggest cardiovascular benefits from B-vitamin supplementation may be greater among women, yet women have been underrepresented in published randomized trials.

Christine Albert of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues tested whether a combination of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 would reduce total cardiovascular events among women at high risk for the development of cardiovascular disease over 7 years of follow-up. Within an ongoing randomized trial of antioxidant vitamins, 5,442 women who were U.S. health professionals age 42 years or older, with either a history of CVD or three or more coronary risk factors, were enrolled in a randomized trial to receive a combination pill containing folic acid (2.5 mg), vitamin B6 (50 mg), and vitamin B12 (1 mg) or a matching placebo.

“Our results are consistent with prior randomized trials performed primarily among men with established vascular disease and do not support the use of folic acid and B vitamin supplements as preventive interventions for CVD in these high-risk fortified populations,” the authors noted.

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New Winn Dixie software credits eligible purchases to FSA, HSA

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie May 16 announced the grocery chain would employ upgraded software will make it easier for customers to credit appropriate over-the-counter and prescription medicines to their flexible-spending or health-savings accounts by identifying eligible products, charging them directly to the person’s FSA or HSA account, and then automatically subtracting that amount from the total owed for all other purchases

Formerly, customers using HSA/FSA cards to purchase these items had to pay for them at the pharmacy and then go to the regular checkout lanes to pay for the remainder of their items.

“This is all about making the shopping experience better for our customers,” stated Robin Miller, Winn-Dixie’s director of communications. “This service enhancement also provides a separate listing and total cost of qualifying purchases on the register receipt, which is helpful for many customers. We are very pleased to be able to offer this added convenience, especially in these challenging economic times.”

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Unilever touts efficacy of new appetite-suppressing milkshake

BY Alaric DeArment

GENEVA Unilever has developed a new appetite suppressant that traps the gas from food to create the feeling of satiety, the company announced Wednesday.

Research showed the suppressant, which comes in the form of a milkshake-like drink, is more effective than Unilever’s Slim-Fast drinks.

Researchers tested the drink on 24 subjects at breakfast, giving one group the new drink and the other group the regular Slim-Fast drink. Subjects given the new drink responded that they felt fuller at different intervals over the four-hour test.

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