folic acid foils strokes

Jul 01, 2004

Food for Thought

Fortifying grain products with folic acid was originally intended to reduce the incidents of birth defects. Now a new study indicates that folic acid fortification may also have a considerable effect on cardiovascular disease, preventing an estimated 31,000 deaths from stoke and 17,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

“We found evidence of a threefold acceleration in the decline of stroke-associated mortality that is temporally related to fortification of flour with folic acid,” said study investigator Lorenzo D. Botto, MD, in a press release issued by the American Heart Association (AHA). The study was conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the findings were released at an AHA conference in San Francisco in March.

Folate has been added to grain products in the United States since 1996. The researchers hypothesized that folic acid benefits the cardiovascular system by lowering blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart attacks and strokes.

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