Folic acid reduces premature births and dementia
by Newsletter Editor
Folic acid cut high blood pressure, inflammation and premature births in pregnant moms, and older adults with high folate levels avoided mental decline, in three new studies.
In a folic acid study, researchers recruited 2,951 women who were between 12 and 20 weeks pregnant. Compared to those who did not take multi-vitamins, women who took multi-vitamins containing folic acid had lower homocysteine levels—a sign of inflammation—and were 63 percent less likely to develop a high blood pressure pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia. Doctors suggested large doses of folic acid during early pregnancy could cut pre-eclampsia risk.
In another folic acid study of 38,033 pregnant women, those who took folic acid supplements for at least one year before conceiving were 70 percent less likely to deliver before 28 weeks and 50 percent less likely to deliver before 33 weeks. Commenting on the remarkably large benefit from folic acid, lead researcher Radek Bukowski noted, “In medicine, usually we do not see big differences like this.”
In a folate study, researchers followed 518 men and women, average age 73, for two and a half years and found that compared to those with higher folate levels at the start of the study, those with lower folate levels were more likely to suffer mental decline (dementia). Those who were deficient with very low levels of folate at the beginning were 3.5 times more likely to develop dementia. Those whose folate levels dropped during the study were also more likely to suffer dementia. Folate is the form folic acid takes in the body. Doctors also noted that during the study, those whose vitamin B12 levels declined or whose homocysteine levels increased were more likely to develop dementia.