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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

High Levels of Amino Acid Found to Increase Heart Attack, Stroke Risks

July 04, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Confirming epidemiological studies, researchers at the University of Iowa College of Medicine have shown directly that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. They report in the July Journal of Clinical Investigation that high levels of homocysteine prevent blood vessels from relaxing and neutralize the anti-clotting mechanism in blood vessels.

The team reached its conclusions by studying two groups of monkeys, one given a normal diet and one given a diet low in folic acid, which reduced their intake of homocysteine. The studies indicated that a diet low in folic acid increases the risk of heart attack by interfering with homocysteine and suggested that folic acid supplements may reduce heart attack risk.

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