Folic Acid: Some vs Too Much

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Optimal intake of folic acid might help lower stroke risk in people with high blood pressure, according to a study from Peking University First Hospital in Beijing, China. More than 20,000 adults with high blood pressure were randomly assigned to take a daily pill containing both folic acid and the hypertensive drug enalapril or a pill with enalapril alone. Results showed that over the following 4.5 years, the folic acid/enalapril group showed a 21% greater drop in stroke risk compared to the group taking only the medication. Adding folic acid also reduced heart-related death from heart attack and stroke.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that feeding mice too much folic acid reduced MTHFR protein and activity levels, creating a pseudo-deficiency that resulted in liver damage, which could have implications for people consuming very high supplemental doses of folic acid.

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Huo Y, Li J, Qin X, et al: Efficacy of folic acid therapy in primary prevention of stroke among adults with hypertension in China. Journal of the American Medical Association 2015;March 15th.

Christensen K, Mikael L, Leung K, et al: High folic acid consumption leads to pseudo-MTHFR deficiency, altered lipid metabolism and liver injury in mice. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015;101:646-658.

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