As vitamins and supplements go, folic acid is a B vitamin best known for its ability to fight cardiovascular disease. Folic acid is naturally found in leafy green vegetables and legumes, but if you’re not eating enough of it, it’s a good idea to take folic acid as a supplement. Not getting enough folic acid through your diet may put you at unnecessary risk of heart problems and other serious illnesses. Studies have shown that the right amount of folic acid in your blood can go a long way in fighting cardiovascular disease, especially the blocked arteries caused by high levels of homocysteine in your bloodstream.
If you’ve never heard of homocysteine, you’re not alone. This is a relatively newly discovered danger to the arteries in the head and neck, and is partly responsible for the blockage of these arteries. Homocysteine is a type of amino acid in the blood that gets oxidized and releases an excess of the vicious free radical called superoxide. Homocysteine resembles cholesterol in the way it starts to block blood vessels, which can cause heart attack or stroke. This danger can affect about 30 to 40% of older adults in the United States.
The good news is that folic acid deficiencies are easily remedied. Taking a folic acid supplement of 400 to 1,000 micrograms per day alone can help save a person with low folate levels from a heart attack. The right amount of folic acid can be found in an over-the-counter multivitamin. Together with vitamins B12 and B6 you have the perfect formula to prevent heart attacks.
Folic acid supplements can also help block and reverse cancer, even after premalignant cells have been found. This is because folic acid levels may not be uniform throughout the body. So targeted cells for cancer may even be deficient in folic acid. Cervical cancer studies have shown that women with lower levels of folic acid in the blood cells around the cervix were five times more likely to develop pre-cancerous cells in the cervix area. Taking folic acid supplements and increasing folic acid levels throughout the body can block the spread of cancer to healthy cells in unprotected parts of the body.
Folic acid supplements can also help maintain normal brain function as you age. Folate supplements taken regularly can help prevent memory loss, depression and dementia, which are much more common in older people with low folate levels. For younger people, folic acid appears to improve memory, concentration and emotional stability. All of this can be achieved with moderate doses of folic acid supplements.
Folic acid is available in foods such as dried beans, spinach, kale, and citrus fruits. However, your body generally absorbs only about fifty percent of the folic acid from food. Foods rich in folic acid are still good for you, but if you want to get all the benefits of folic acid, it is still wise to take a folic acid supplement. This is especially true if you want to get the added benefits of preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other more serious illnesses.<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><strong>Remember that the power of folic acid becomes even more powerful when combined with vitamins B12 and B6</strong>. The recommended dose of all three is available in a standard multivitamin, available at the pharmacy or supermarket.Remember that the power of folic acid becomes even more powerful when combined with vitamins B12 and B6. The recommended dose of all three is available in a standard multivitamin, available at the pharmacy or supermarket.