Upon reviewing cohort studies, British researchers have concluded that folic acid may protect against heart disease.
A range of studies have linked increased blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It has been suggested that by lowering the homocysteine level, the risk of developing heart disease would decrease.
A number of recent studies have reported negative or null effects of folic acid supplementation for the reduction of heart disease.
However, after reviewing the evidence British researchers now say a slight decrease in homocysteine levels, thought to be achievable with a daily folic acid intake with 0.8 mg lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke by 15 and 24 percent.
Folate is a B vitamin that occurs naturally in food, such as green leafy vegetables and lentils. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folic acid is found in supplements and added to fortified foods to prevent neural tube defects.
These findings are published in the British Medical Journal.
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