Taking a folic acid supplement could be a “wise move for all adults in the UK”, especially those with high blood pressure, the Health & Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS) has said.

This comes in response to recent research suggesting that folic acid could reduce the risk of stroke by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood – high levels of which are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke. The study showed that taking both folic acid and the anti-hypertensive drug enalapril daily led to a 73 per cent reduction in the risk of first stroke compared to just taking enalapril daily.

Dr Gill Jenkins, GP and HSIS advisor, commented that the results “are not surprising”, and said that while all individuals should undergo a “detailed biochemical assessment” before starting or changing any treatment, combining folic acid with anti-hypertensive drugs may be beneficial to people with high blood pressure, high homocysteine levels and a low platelet count for reducing their risk of stroke.

Dr Jenkins added: “The findings of this study suggest that taking a B vitamin or multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement containing folic acid would be a wise move for all adults in the UK.”

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