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Higher Folic Acid Intake May Lower Risk of Dementia

Dementia is a collective term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline, such as forgetfulness, disorientation, and mood changes. A recent study suggests that taking folic acid supplements may reduce the long-term risk of dementia in populations with low folic acid intake and no fortification programs.

Participants in the study included 1,321 people who took part in the Three-City Study in France. All of the participants completed a 24-hour dietary recall, were free of dementia at the onset of the study, and were followed for an average of 7.4 years. France does not have folic acid fortification and, in general, has low average intake levels of folic acid.

The researchers conducted face-to-face interviews in order to identify socio-demographic, lifestyle, and health-related characteristics. They also conducted neuro-psychological testing and blood sampling. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that participants with the highest folate intake had a 50% lower risk of developing dementia when compared to those with the lowest intake.

Researchers from INSERM and INSPED in France conducted the study. It was published on November 26, 2016, in Nutrients.

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.

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