A new China-based study has provided fresh evidence for the role of folic acid in the prevention of strokes, mainly among the patients of high blood pressure.
The cardiovascular benefits of folate or folic acid, which is an important B vitamin, have been well documented by the medical scientists. However, in the countries like the United States, many previous studies have showed that folate supplements were no better at the prevention of strokes than a placebo.
However, the new study shows that the research works based in the US yielded results considering Americans’ already high folate intake. Hence, these studies can’t be considered as an evidence of futility of folic acid as a boon to cardiovascular health.
For the study, the researchers followed 20,000 adults in China having problem of high blood pressure. The patients also had a history of heart disease or stroke.
During the 4.5-year clinical trial, some of the patients were administered with both folic acid supplements and the anti-hypertension drug, enalapril, while few were only given the later drug. The researchers found that the participants who took both supplements and drug were at lower risk of suffering a stroke in comparison to those who took medicine alone.
Dr. Walter Willett, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the Harvard Health Blog, said, “Fruits and vegetables are important sources of folate in the diet, and they also bring lots of other benefits, such as potassium and phytonutrients, that also help lower cardiovascular disease.”
Some of the good sources of folic acid are: citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and beans.
In the US, most of the grain-based food items, such as wheat flour, rice, pasta and cornmeal, are fortified with folate. This may be the reason why their intake of folic acid is high among Americans.
The findings were published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.