According to Mail Online, folic acid supplements reduce the risk of a stroke by 75% for people with high blood pressure. If you are among one of the three American adults who suffer from high blood pressure, it is important to make sure that you are getting the right amount of vitamin B, also known as folate. This can reduce your odds of having a stroke and other serious and deadly events that are linked to high blood pressure.
What is Folate?
Folate is a healthy substance that is present naturally in many foods such as leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. In the U.S., there are many grain products that have been fortified with a synthetic version of folate, also known as folic acid. Thus, you will be getting some amount of folic acid when you consume these fortified grain products such as pasta, rice, cornmeal, and wheat flour.
Importance of Folic Acid
Both folate and folic acid form a part of the Vitamin B-9 group. They are important for a number of functions in our body including but not limited to:
- Repair and synthesis of RNA and DNA
- Rapid cell division and growth
- Enhanced brain health
- Age related hearing loss
In a recent widely reported study, it was suggested that folic acid supplements help in reducing the risk of stroke in people who have high blood pressure. The research and study was conducted by Wang and colleagues from Chicago’s Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
As per the study, the highest improvements in stroke risk were showed by people who:
- Took folic acid supplements for over 3 years (29% lower risk)
- Had no prior history of stroke (25% reduction)
- Achieved a reduction in the levels of homocysteine in their blood (23% reduction of risk)
The study also found that taking folic acid supplements also lowered the risk of stroke by 25% in the people who are living in areas where there is no fortification of grains with folic acid.
Cardiovascular benefits of folate have been known for decades. Actual studies on this subject began in the 1970s which showed the people that consuming more folate reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks than the people who consumed no or a lesser amount of folic acid. Folic acid helps in breaking down homocysteine, an amine acid that can damage the inner walls of arteries leading to the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Where to Get Your Folic Acid?
You can get your required amount of folic acid in two ways:
Through the Foods You Eat: You can get folate from foods that have it naturally in them. These foods include spinach, beans, and nuts. You can also get the required amount of folate from fortified foods, also known as enriched foods, such as pasta, cereals, and breads.
As a Vitamin: The other way of getting the required amount of folate is through supplements that are easily available through pharmacies.
It is very important to take the required amount of folate to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other problems.