Study: Dietary supplements reduce hip fracture risk in stroke patients

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The use of dietary supplements such as folate and vitamin B12 can reduce the risk of hip fracture in elderly patients following a stroke, according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Japanese researchers studied 628 patients aged 65 years or more who had paralysis on one side of the body after suffering a stroke. The participants were randomly given the supplements daily or given placebos.

The risk of hip fracture is significantly higher in stroke patients than in other individuals of the same age, because of increased blood levels of a substance called homocysteine, according to researcher Dr. Yoshihiro Sato. Folate and vitamin B12 are known to reduce homocysteine levels.

During follow-up research on study subjects two years later, researchers found that while the number of falls in each group was virtually the same, there were only six hip fractures in the supplement group, compared with 27 in the placebo group.

Researchers caution, however, that while they found folate and vitamin B12 treatment to be associated with a decrease in the fracture risk, "generalization to broader non-Japanese populations should be performed with caution."