Two-thirds of stroke deaths worldwide occur in developing countries. The higher prevalence of undernutritional states and parasitic infestations in many of these countries could lead to vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies. Hyperhomocysteinemia, a proxy measure for the nutritional status of B vitamins, has been reported in many developing countries and is found to be associated with nutritionrelated low plasma folate and vitamin B12. Several epidemiological observations have linked hyperhomocysteinemia to increased risk for stroke. The exact molecular mechanism by which homocysteine promotes atherothrombosis is not clear, although several possible roles have been suggested. Homocysteine is believed to cause atherogenesis and thrombogenesis via endothelial damage, focal vascular smooth muscle proliferation probably causing irregular vascular contraction, and coagulation abnormalities. Supplementation with the nutrient cofactors required for optimal functioning of the homocysteine metabolic pathways significantly impacts plasma homocysteine levels, and offers a new integrated possibility for prevention of stroke in the underdeveloped and rapidly developing countries.
Keywords: Developing countries, stroke, homocysteine, nutritional deficiencies
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