Increasing the intake of dietary folate can help reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, according to new research from the US.
Researchers led by Dr Jiang He from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans assessed the dietary folate levels of 9764 men and women participating in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.
Using medical records and death certificates to determine the incidence of stroke and cardiovascular disease, the researchers found that over an average period of 19 years between 1971 and 1992, there were 926 strokes and 3758 cases of cardiovascular disease among the patients.
Writing in the May issue of Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association, Dr He's team said that patients with a folate intake of at least 300 micrograms a day had a 20 per cent lower risk of stroke compared with those who consumed less than 136 micrograms/day.
The risk of cardiovascular disease was some 13 per cent lower in patients with daily folate intake of at least 300 micrograms compared with those with a daily folate intake of less than 136 micrograms, the researchers added.