Folic acid may lower the risk of heart disease by preventing damage to the inner lining of arteries, British researchers report. Their study found that heart disease patients who took 5 milligrams (mg) of folic acid daily for 12 weeks had slightly better functioning of their arterial inner lining, or endothelium, than those who took an inactive placebo, and a greater ability of their arteries to widen appropriately.
According to the researchers, the B vitamin folic acid may work by lowering homocysteine, a substance in the blood that has been linked to heart disease. Too much homocysteine, which is formed naturally when protein is broken down, may cause oxidative damage to the endothelium. Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals
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