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New Findings Support Taking Folic Acid

In the last month, several new studies have reported significant benefits of getting folic acid (also known as folate) from supplements and foods.

The first study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, involved 728 men and women aged 58 to 70 and found that folic acid may prevent age-related hearing loss.

Participants in this study had relatively high homocysteine levels. They took either 800mcg of folic acid or a placebo daily for three years. As expected, after three years a louder sound was required for both groups to hear a noise. However, this increase was significantly less for those taking folic acid (a 1.0 dB increase) compared to the placebo group (a 1.7 dB increase).

Another study conducted at Columbia University reports that after analyzing the diets of 965 individuals, and then following them for about six years, the highest intake of folate from both food and supplements was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

An interesting finding was that neither dietary folate nor supplements alone were significantly linked to lowering Alzheimer's disease risk. Only combining these two produced the effect of lowering the risk of Alzheimer's.

In a related finding, a study published in The Lancet found that the decline in cognitive performance associated with aging could be slowed by folic acid supplements.

The scientists tracked a group taking 800mcg of folic acid or a placebo daily for three years. Among the findings was those taking folic acid had the memory of someone 4.7 years younger and the recall time of someone 6.9 years younger.
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