There are many health benefits of folic acid, as well as other B vitamins, and it is an essential part of a heart healthy diet. Lack of this important vitamin can lead to a host of problems including heart disease.
FACT: A major risk indicator of heart disease, elevated homocysteine in the blood, is directly related to folic acid and B vitamin deficiency.
What is folic acid and why do we need it?
Also known as Vitamin B9, it plays an important role in facilitating many body processes. Among them are cell maintenance and repair, synthesis of DNA, amino acid metabolism and formation of red and white blood cells.
The benefits of folic acid include inhibiting colon cancer as well as preventing heart disease, as outlined below.
In addition to high cholesterol levels, an equally important risk indicator of heart disease is increased homocysteine, an abnormal protein byproduct. One of the benefits of taking folic acid and other B vitamins is that they help remove homocysteine from your blood. Too much homocysteine can cause serious artery damage.
Where can you get folic acid from?
Fruits, green leafy vegetables and yeast are all foods containing folic acid in the form of folate. However, studies show that it is actually better absorbed by the body in supplement form. It is almost 50% less available from food sources, so it is probably wise to supplement to maximize vitamin B benefits.
What other B Vitamins are essential for the heart?
In addition to folic acid (B9), Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 are important for maintaing cardiovascular health. The benefits include metabolizing carbohydrates and lipids (B6), helping red blood cell production and enhancing folic acid utilization (B12), and also maintaining homocysteine levels (B6, B12).
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Are there other nutrients that provide the benefits of folic acid?
In addition to folic acid and other B vitamins, following are equally important nutrients for maintaining a healthy, strong heart:
CoEnzyme Q10 – vitamin-like substance for overall heart strength and stability.
Vitamin E – powerful antioxidant that can protect against the development of heart disease.
Vitamin C – works in conjunction with Vitamin E to promote heart strength.
Fish Oil – contains Omega 3 fatty acids which can protect the heart.
Calcium – assists in heart function among other health benefits.
Magnesium – stabilizes the heart’s electrical system and helps with heart problems.
Selenium – promotes a healthy heart by facilitating circulation.
L-Carnitine – increases energy production in heart tissue.
Ginkgo Biloba – gingko extract increases blow flow to the heart.
Hawthorn Berry – hawthorn extract improves all functions of heart muscle.
Maitake – maitake extract can help reduce blood pressure and ease blood flow.
For a more comprehensive list of heart healthy nutrients, visit out Heart Nutrients page which covers vitamins, minerals, extracts and other nutrients for lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and homocysteine, as well as preventing heart disease and maintaining heart health.
Please be sure to consult with your physician before taking any supplement for the benefits of folic acid and other vitamin B benefits. Although there are foods containing folic acid, the body can absorb it better in supplement form.