Younger women who take more folicacid may have less of a chance of developinghigh blood pressure. While smallerstudies have recommended that high-dosefolic acid supplementation may lower bloodpressure, there have been no larger studiesexamining the issue. The current study,reported in the Journal of the AmericanMedical Association (January 18, 2005),examined data on 94,000 women aged 27to 44 years enrolled in the Nurses'HealthStudy II. None of the participants had highblood pressure at the study's onset. Theresearchers based the participants'folateintake on food questionnaires and informationregarding folate-containing supplements.In the 8 years of follow-up, 7373 ofthe women developed hypertension.
For the 2-part study, the researcherstook into account physical activity, weight,and family history. The results of the studyshowed that women who consumed atleast 1000 mcg per day of total folate hada 46% lower risk of becoming hypertensive,compared with the participants withan intake of <200 mcg per day.
The second phase of the study examineddata on >62,000 older women (43 to70 years of age) in the Nurses HealthStudy I. Of the participants, 12,347 developedhigh blood pressure. The chance ofhypertension was reduced by 18% for thehighest versus lowest folate intake. Theresearchers discovered that the benefitcame primarily from folate supplementationrather than dietary folate.