Researchers from the Netherlands report that folic acid supplements may prevent age-related hearing loss in older adults.
The study of more than 700 men and women between the ages of 50 and 70, looked at hearing loss over a three year period. Researchers randomly assigned participants to receive a folic acid supplement (800 micrograms per day) or a placebo. Researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine that the folic acid supplement was associated with lower age-related hearing loss in the low frequency range.
While further studies are needed to fully examine the relationship between folic acid and its effect against hearing loss, researchers suggest that hearing loss may be linked to homocysteine levels, and amino acid in the body. High levels of homocysteine are associated with artery damage. Studies have determined that folic acid supplementation can lower elevated homocysteine levels.
Folate is a B vitamin that occurs naturally in food, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in supplements and added to fortified foods. Sources of folate include leafy vegetables, including spinach and turnip greens, as well as lentils, fortified cereal products and sunflower seeds.
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