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Folic Acid Reduces Stroke Risk In High Blood Pressure Patients

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Those with high blood pressure, which is one-third of the adult population in America, should ensure that their intake consists of an adequate amount of the B vitamin known as folate, as a new study suggests folic acid may lower your chances of having a stroke.

Folic acid deficiency is known to cause megaloblastic anemia, birth defects involving the spinal cord and brain, spina bifida, and other health concerns.

The study, which was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted as a randomized, double-blind trial by Chinese researchers as part of the China Stroke Primary Prevention Trial (CSPPT).

The trial included over 20,000 adults afflicted with high blood pressure who had no prior history of stroke or myocardial infarction.

When administered folic acid therapy alongside the blood pressure drug enalapril (Vasotec), the HBP patients appeared to exhibit a significant reduction in their risk of stroke; this in comparison to patients who took enalapril without folate therapy.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines high blood pressure as a serious medical condition which can lead to coronary heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, heart failure, and other problems.

The findings of the new study are most relevant to those who lack a proper folate fortification regime which incorporates fruits and vegetables as both serve as sources of folate. Dr. Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was quoted in a blog entry on Harvard Health as having said that fruits and vegetables “bring lots of other benefits” in addition to providing folate “such as potassium and phytonutrients” which help lower cardiovascular disease.

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

In the study, 2.7 percent of patients taking a once a day 10 mg tablet of enalapril alongside 0.8 mg of folic acid experienced their first strokes while 3.4 percent of patients taking enalapril without folate had their first strokes.

With what appears to be a 0.7 percent reduction in stroke risk exhibited by HBP patients in the double-blind trial, the benefit of folic acid supplementation appear to have been made quite clear.

Those with low baseline folate levels saw the biggest benefit from folic acid treatment, making the findings most relevant to those without folate fortification.

What do you think, is it time to bolster your folic acid intake?

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