High folate intake lowers blood pressure

October 13, 2004 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

High folate intake lowers blood pressure

Upping the daily intake of the B vitamin folate has been widely promoted in recent years to reduce women's risk of having a baby with spina bifida, but it also seems to have another benefit.

Women consuming 800 micrograms per day or more of folate are significantly less likely to develop high blood pressure than women consuming lesser amounts, according to a report presented at the American Heart Association's annual conference in Chicago.

Researchers from the Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital reported the data from the Nurses' Health Study I, which included 62,260 women between 43 and 70 years old, and the Nurses' Health Study II, comprising 93,043 women between 26 and 46.

The investigators divided the women into five categories according to folate intake, the average being approximately 250 micrograms daily. Younger women - those in the Nurses' Health Study II - who consumed 800 micrograms or more per day had a 29% lower risk of high blood pressure than those who consumed less than 200 micrograms daily. Older women in the highest category had a 13% lower risk of high blood pressure than those in the lowest category.

It is very hard to get (800 micrograms folate daily) from diet alone. Essentially all the women in the highest category took supplements.

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