Folic acid may help significantly lower stroke risk

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A new study by Chinese researchers has found that folic acid supplements are associated with significantly lower risk of stroke in people with high blood pressure. In an editorial accompanying the study — which appeared March 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) — two Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition experts called the new findings “remarkable” and said that they have “important implications for stroke prevention worldwide.”

“Large segments of the world’s population, potentially billions of people, including those living in northern China, Bangladesh, and Scandinavia, have low levels of folate,” Meir Stampfer, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, and Walter Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, wrote in their editorial. Given the difficulty in getting adequate levels of folic acid from diet alone, they said the study suggests the importance of either fortifying foods with folic acid or providing supplements.