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Folic Acid Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Stroke

A recent far reaching analysis suggests that consuming folic acid either in dietary form or in the form of supplements may reduce the risk of stroke. However, the researchers did not find a correlation between folic acid and a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

For this study, 26 randomized controlled trials were examined. In total, 58,804 people participated. The researchers found a 7% lower risk of stroke in individuals with high blood levels of folic acid.

Previous studies have suggested that folic acid consumption could reduce serum homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that has previously been linked with heart disease. While it may be true that folic acid reduces homocysteine levels, this study found no link between folic acid consumption and lower incidences of cardiovascular disease.

The study was conducted by researchers at Chang Gung University in Taiwan and was published online ahead of print on August 9, 2012, in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate plays an essential role in 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. Some foods rich in folate include liver, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupes, and other melons. Folic acid can be found in supplement form and as an additive in foods such as bread, cereal and grains.

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