Lowering blood pressure can help reduce the risk of stroke. A recent study suggests that taking folic acid with the medication Enalapril may be more effective for reducing the risk of stroke in people with hypertension than taking just the medicine is on its own.
Participants in the study included 20,702 adults with hypertension who had no history of stroke or heart attack. A portion of the participants took a 10 mg pill of Enalapril daily while the other group took 10 mg Enalapril and 0.8 mg folic acid. The average treatment time was 4.5 years.
During the study period, 282 or 2.7% of the participants in the combination Enalapril/folic acid group had a stroke. In comparison, 355 or 3.4% of the Enalapril-alone group had a stroke during that time.
The researchers analyzed these numbers and determined that the combination of the supplement and medication was equal to an absolute risk reduction of 0.7% and a relative risk reduction of 21%.
Additionally, they found that the combination group had a 2.2% risk of ischemic stroke while the Enalaprilalone group had a 2.8% risk. Finally, the risk of composite cardiovascular events such as cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke were 3.1% and 3.9%, respectively.
The effects were especially pronounced with people who had low folate levels at the onset of the study.
Researchers from Peking University First Hospital in Beijing conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 15, 2015, in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate plays an essential role in many of the necessary functions of the human body. It has been associated with nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Previous studies have also found a potential link between this vitamin and reductions in hearing loss and birth defects.
Our bodies do not naturally synthesize B vitamins. However, it is easy to increase your intake by eating more folate- rich foods, such as liver, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupes, and other melons.
Previous research suggests that sarcopenic obesity an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass is becoming increasingly prevalent among mature adults. A recent study suggests that balancing protein intake throughout the day as opposed to consuming it all during the evening meal may increase muscle gain by approximately 20% as well as promote weight loss.
Participants in the study included 20 obese men between the ages of 60 and 75 years old.All underwent one of two interventions: balanced protein consisting oftotal protein intake distributed at 25% for breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snack or a skewed protein intake of 7%, 17%, 72%, and 4% throughout the day. Both groups consumed the same amount of protein, however the balanced protein group drank a Nestle whey protein drink while the skewed group received their protein solely from dietary sources.
During the first two weeks all of the participants followed their usual physical activity, which was monitored with a pedometer and an accelerometer. For the last two weeks, they all did supervised resistance training.
The researchers measured myofibrillar protein synthesis with blood samples and muscle biopsy at the two and four week marks.
Both groups showed decreases in muscle and fat after the first two weeks of the study. While fat reduction was the same for both groups, the balanced protein group showed slightly less muscle loss. After resistance training was begun, both groups showed slower muscle loss.The balanced protein group also had 19% higher myofibrillar protein synthesis when compared with the skewed group.
Additionally, when the balanced protein group started doing resistance training, their rate of protein synthesis went from the low level seen during the first two weeks of the study back to the normal levels seen before the start of the study.
Researchers from Nestle conducted the study. It was published on March 3, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also a building block for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. To get the optimal benefit from protein, its important to choose the right type. Some good sources of animal protein include fish, poultry, and lean meat.