It takes a study for doctors to believe what nutrition experts like Patrick Holford have always said: folic acid reduces the risk of stroke, as per JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association. Over 20,000 adults in China with high blood pressure but without a history of stroke or heart attack, were part of the study where the combined use of the hypertension medication enalapril and folic acid, significantly reduced the risk of first stroke. Stroke is a leading cause of death for heart risk disease patients. “We speculate that even in countries with folic acid fortification and widespread use of folic acid supplements such as in the United States and Canada, there may still be room to further reduce stroke incidence using more targeted folic acid therapy,” say the authors of this study that was conducted over a 4-and-a-half year period.
Folic acid’s essential functions include nucleotide biosynthesis in cells, DNA synthesis and repair, red blood cell creation, and prevention of anemia. Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is well known for prevention of fetal deformities like spina bifida, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. Foods naturally rich in folic acid include broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, beans, avocado, egg yolk, seeds & nuts. Folic acid is present as folate in these foods. While folic acid and folate are often marketed as one and the same, their metabolic effects can be quite different. Folate is the bioavailable, natural form of vitamin B9. Folic acid, while readily utilised by the body, is the synthetic form of the vitamin, often found in supplements and fortified foods. The body is more adept at using folate and will regulate healthy levels by releasing excess through the urine so there is little need to worry about over dosage. All B vitamins are water soluble and rarely lead to high levels when prescribed by a nutritional expert.