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February 23, 2006

Memory, Blood pressure, and Diabetes - 'Got Folate'

Topics: Health Issues

9.28folate.jpgReaders wanting an easy way to prevent memory loss and lower your blood pressure, may want to consider a "mystery vitamin" that may improve your body and mind.

In a Tufts University study, men on a high-folate diet had sharper cognitive skills three years later. The study measured men's' verbal skills and their ability to copy complex figures -- difficult tasks for those with failing memories.

(...) Doctors say folate opens up blood vessels, which helps your brain function, and can prevent another health problem. In another study, younger women who consumed at least 1,000 micrograms of folate a day were 46-percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who consumed less than 200 micrograms.

(...) "It's a huge cardiovascular risk factor, and the idea that folate may be able to reduce the risk of high blood pressure is very exciting," says kidney specialist John P. Forman, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, also in Boston.

(...) One cup of raw spinach contains 60 micrograms, and just a handful nuts has 40. Add some bread and fruit, and you'll be on your way to getting the recommended 400 micrograms a day ... And a healthy mind and body!

(...) Not getting enough folate is also linked to a number of cancers. As for health risks from a high-folate diet, experts say it can cause seizures for those taking anti-convulsant medications.

Folate is also the subject of research in diabetes. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia are studying the Impact of diabetes on folate transport - how folate, a vitamin essential to cell proliferation and survival, makes its way to the retina and how diseases such as diabetes interfere with the journey, and a possible relationship to diabetic retinapathy.
The researchers are focusing on the transport of folate to the retina's photoreceptor cells, metabolically active cells that take in light and constantly shed old protein without any obvious supply of folate, such as blood, to help make new protein.
Another area of study, just one of many in folic acid research, has to do with the fact that Type 2 diabetes patients are subject to oxidative stress as a result of hyperglycemia, and folate supplementation reduces serum Hsp70 levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Related:
Researchers Study Impact of Diabetes on Folate Transport - How folate - a vitamin essential to cell proliferation and survival - makes its way to the retina and how diseases such as diabetes interfere with the journey are questions being pursued by Medical College of Georgia researchers.

Folate supplementation reduces serum Hsp70 levels in patients with type 2 diabetes - Type 2 diabetes patients are subject to oxidative stress as a result of hyperglycemia. The aim of this study was to determine whether administration of the antioxidant folic acid, previously shown to reduce homocysteine levels, would reduce circulating levels of Hsp70 while improving the condition of type 2 diabetes patients with microalbuminuria. Plasma homocysteine fell from pretreatment values of 12.9 to 10.3 μM (P < 0.0001). The urine albumin-creatinine ratio fell from 12.4 to 10.4 mg/mM (P = 0.38). Pretreatment Hsp70 levels were higher in patients not taking insulin (5.32 ng/mL) compared with those on insulin (2.44 ng/mL) (P = 0.012). Folic acid supplementation resulted in a significant fall in Hsp70 (5.32 to 2.05 ng/mL) (P = 0.004). There was no change in Hsp70 in those receiving insulin. Folic acid supplementation in non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients, therefore, resulted in a fall in Hsp70, reflecting an improvement in oxidative stress. The data shows that improvement in homocysteine status can lead to a reduction in Hsp70, indicating the possibility of its use as a marker for severity of disease.

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate

Posted by Richard at February 23, 2006 7:19 PM



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