Folic Acid is recommended to pregnant women as it is thought to reduce the risk of birth defects (such as ‘spina bifida’). Mounting research evidence now also suggests it may work well for the elderly, too.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of ‘folate’ (a B vitamin found in dark green vegetables, cereals and fruit) which is often destroyed by cooking or even long term storage. It is not clear how folate works but it may help prevent heart disease and aid cognitive function by improving blood flow and reducing levels of the naturally-occurring amino acid 'homocysteine', which can damage arterial blood vessels and possibly brain cells.
In a study of a variety of nutrients, folic acid proved to have the biggest effect in lowering the risk of mental deterioration associated with Alzheimer’s. In the study, volunteers who consumed at least 400mcg of folic acid had 55% less risk of getting Alzheimer’s than those that consumed below that level.
With this in mind, and the fact that the body cannot actually store this vital nutrient, nutritionists recommend a daily supplement of at least 400mcg.
The benefits of Folic Acid include:
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