Learn about the benefits of folate for reducing blood pressure in women and for overall heart health.
Many people aren't aware that women have a higher hypertension risk than men. This risk is especially high with menopause and high blood pressure. Luckily, folate is a supplement that specifically helps women reduce blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that hypertensive women who took folate reduced their blood pressure by a significant amount. 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 in helping reduce blood pressure. 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.
Get more of Dr. Sinatra's advice on Healthy Blood Pressure
While researchers have yet to explain the mechanism by which folate reduces blood pressure, 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.
Reduce Your Blood Pressure With The Right Dose of Folate
If you’re a woman with high blood pressure (above 140/80 mmHg), increase your folic acid intake to reduce your blood pressure. However, 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 did not derive the same benefits as those taking folic acid supplements. This makes sense—foods only deliver around 200 mcg of folic acid.
Instead, taking at least 800 mcg a day of folic acid in supplement form is absolutely the way to go to reduce blood pressure.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have a question about how folate reduces blood pressure, or about women and heart health?
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