Why folic acid is good for you.
In the last three years, scientists have uncovered one reason after another which shows that folic acid is important in the diet. First, it was linked to the prevention of birth defects, then to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. And now, a study of nuns has offered intriguing hints that a folic acid deficiency might be linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. David A. Snowdon, an epidemiologist at the University of Kentucky presented the first results from his study of 678 nuns. The researcher, found that the nuns who showed little evidence of Alzheimer's disease at the time of their deaths also had high levels of folic acid. The findings reinforced a 1998 study in which Alzheimer's patients were found to have low levels of folic acid in their blood.
There is also some evidence that folic acid - or folate, one of the three B vitamins that help in the formation of red blood cells can combat depression and reduce the incidence of certain cancers. The other two B vitamins are B6 and B12.
It's easy to get folic acid into the diet-many vegetables, dried beans and leafy greens are rich in it. Yes, it is also conveniently available in pill form, but it may not do as much good if the diet is high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates.