A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has showed the benefits of folate for women. Women who took folate lowered their blood pressure. A daily dosage of more than 1,000 mcg a day of folate (folic acid) was effective in creating a 46 percent reduction in high blood pressure in women.
JAMA’s report was based upon published data from the ongoing Nurses Health Study (NHS) regarding the benefits of folate intake. Researchers followed a huge group—nearly 94,000 women ranging in age from 27 to 44—for over eight years to determine the benefits of folate in reducing high blood pressure in women.
While researchers have yet to explain the reason for the association between the benefits of folate intake and reducing the risk for hypertension, we do know that the benefits of folate include a reduction in homocysteine levels, which are toxic to blood vessels in the brain and heart. We also know that high homocysteine levels are definitely a threat to hypertensive women. If you are woman with high blood pressure, it would be worthwhile to investigate the benefits of folate supplementation.
What’s the takeaway for you?
- If you’re a woman with high blood pressure (above 140/80), increase your folic acid intake to get the benefits of folate.
- Don’t depend on dietary sources—such as oranges, leafy, greens, and beans—to get the benefits of folate. The NHS demonstrated that women who got their folate from dietary sources—such as oranges, leafy greens and beans—did not derive the same benefits of folate as those taking folic acid supplements.
- Taking at least 800 mcg a day of folic acid in supplement form is absolutely the way to go to get the benefit of folate—since most of us only get about 200 mcg in foods.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have a question about the benefits of folate, or about women and heart health?
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