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Women of all ages may benefit from taking folate to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Research presented at the American Heart Association's annual high blood pressure conference (October 11, 2004) showed that young women who consumed >800 mcg of folate daily reduced the risk of high blood pressure by almost a third, compared with those who had <200 mcg a day. In the current study, the researchers evaluated 150,000 women over 8 years. One group included 62,260 women from the Nurses' Health Study I, aged 43 to 70. The other group included 93,034 women from the Nurses' Health Study II, aged 26 to 46.
For the study, the women answered questions about their food intake at the start and then every 4 years. They reported any physician- diagnosed high blood pressure every 2 years during the study. The results showed that younger women who took in >800 mcg of folate every day had a 29% reduction in the risk of high blood pressure, compared with participants who took in <200 mcg. Among the older women who took in >800 mcg daily, there was a 13% reduction in risk, compared with women who took in <200 mcg.