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Researchers Determine Optimum Folic Acid Dosage For Reducing Certain Health Risks

December 20, 2010: 09:23 AM EST

Researchers in the U.K. have found that folic acid doses as little as 0.2 mg a day over six months effectively lower the concentrations of the amino acid homocysteine, which has been linked to cardiovascular and neural disorders, especially in infants. The randomized study involved 101 patients with ischemic heart disease and 71 healthy volunteers. Participants received either a placebo or folic acid doses of 0.2, 0.4, or 0.8 mg a day for 26 weeks. The study found that doses higher than 0.2 mg a day are probably not necessary because they do not significantly lower homcysteine levels further. “Doses even lower than 0.2 mg a day may be effective in the longer term,” the researchers conclude. Earlier trials “probably overestimated the folic acid dose required” because the treatments didn’t last long enough.

Paula Tighe, et al., "A dose-finding trial of the effect of long-term folic acid intervention: implications for food fortification policy", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 20, 2010, © American Society for Nutrition
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