It's well known now that folic acid is an important vitamin for women because it can prevent birth defects. So, the government even mandates that folic acid be included in some foods. Here's what's new. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, new findings that indicate folic acid may have another important benefit.
"We found that a higher folate intake was associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure," says Dr. John Forman, at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Dr. John Forman and colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, studied diet data on 150,000 women. They focused on two age groups: 27 to 44 year olds, and 43 to 70 year olds, tracking the women's folate intake, and their blood pressure, for eight years. Turns out the younger group in that child-bearing range had the most dramatic results with a nearly 50% reduction in their risk of developing high blood pressure. The older group saw nearly a 20% reduction. All the women in the study took folic acid supplements. But before you pile on the pills, Dr. Foreman adds a word of caution.
"Until more research is done, women should not go out now and bulk up on folic acid, but we're very excited about the promise that this research holds for the prevention of high blood pressure," says Dr. Forman.
Remember, the easy way to get lots of folic acid is to drink orange juice, or eat lots of fruit, green, leafy vegetables, beans, breads and cereals.