This article is part of the Health Conditions topic. Below are more articles in this topic.
Reprinted with permission by Feel Good For Life
Bernard began having trouble remembering names, adding to the generalised depression he’d been feeling. After reading some mens’ health articles his wife suggested he start taking the same folate supplements they gave their daughter when she was pregnant. What? He thought folate was only for problems affecting women’s health.
It turns out his wife was right, folate (also known as ‘folic acid’) is one of the anti-aging vitamins that does a world of good to prevent birth defects (reducing neural tube defects in the developing foetus), but also is gaining notoriety for warding off strokes and even heart damage after a heart attack. It even seems to put off the cognitive decline associated with aging, according to a Dutch study. People who supplemented their diet with extra folate performed much better on memory tests, recalling objects and people as well as people who were five years younger.
What else can folate do? Many cases of dementia and common depression appear to be reversible with folate supplementation. There have been numerous studies over the past thirty years, which confirm a high correlation between folate deficiency and mental conditions like depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This appears to be because folic acid is necessary for the body to turn the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin (the brain’s neurotransmitter related to emotional states). In older adults that have a deficiency of folic acid, as many as two out of three might show early signs of neuro-psychiatric disorders like mild depression or cognitive decline. Taking anti-aging supplements with high levels of folate can often reverse these signs.
A Swedish study found that folate or vitamin B12 deficiency doubled the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. The multi-decade Framingham, Massachusetts study confirmed that raised homocystine concentrations (from low folate) increased the risk of Alzheimer’s two-fold.
Folate does even more — it can play a critical role in reducing cancer and cardiovascular problems. A study of colon cancer risk in women revealed taking folate supplements decreased the chances of getting colon cancer by 75%. Interestingly, researchers found folate in the form of dietary supplements was even more protective against cancer than consuming extra folate in the diet, as vegetables.
An article published in the medical journal Circulation in 2008, reported that folate supplements reduced the risks of cardiovascular disease in people with a family history of elevated cholesterol. Doctors think the folate works by lowering the levels of the homocystine in the blood. (A major risk factor for heart attacks is high levels of the amino acid homocystine.) ‘Pre-treatment’ with folate was found to reduce the damage suffered by heart muscles after they underwent oxygen starvation during a heart attack. Folate seems to improve the dilation in blood vessels, making them more flexible to expansion and contraction, lowering blood pressure and reducing life-threatening clot formation. Dilation is particularly important in people with heart disease, due to plaque-narrowed coronary arteries.
Folate — a super-hero supplement that takes on heart disease, colon cancer, birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease and even depression. Isn’t it time we insure men’s health with extra folate?