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Folic acid, a B vitamin, lowers stroke risk in people with high blood pressure

March 18, 2015

About the Author

photo of Julie Corliss

Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Julie Corliss


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Helen George-Ray
March 31, 2015

May I suggest another alternative, total body cleanse before embarking or using any type of multivitamin. My blood pressure level went totally to the lowest level after doing a 20 day body detox to remove the junk. A good probiotics might also be used and a good review can be found at With reference to the article, the best sources of folic acid and B vitamin can be found in most leafy vegetables.

March 31, 2015

very nice blog

March 30, 2015

Please put a link to the original paper/study even if it is behind a pay wall! As an alternative a link to the abstract on a service like Medline would be appropriate.

Kristen Rapoza
March 31, 2015

Hi Rich,

Here is the link to the original Chinese study in JAMA:

Also, if you click on the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in the third paragraph it will take you there as well.

Kristen R. with Harvard Health Publishing

March 29, 2015

This is fairly speculative journalism that makes broad population assumptions that cannot be rationally assumed. The article makes assertions to the public about benefits that haven’t been proven by this study.

All this shows is that in patients taking enalapril for hypertension, those that took folic acid plus enalapril had a lower rate of thromboembolic events than those taking enalapril alone.

We cannot extend this to the general population from this data alone. I would like to know the credentials of the person who wrote this blog and why Harvard are happy to endorse this unfounded assumption.

“This blog aims to provide reliable information as well as healthy dialog about the topics covered.”

March 29, 2015

Folate is not the same as folic acid.

March 19, 2015

Is it the same thing if you take a folic acid supplement instead of getting it all f r om vegetables and fruit?

James Born
March 19, 2015

I wanted to buy the booklet on blood pressure that stemmed from today’s article but I forgot my password when I was in the process of buying the article.

Please send me my password and the name of the booklet on hypertension.

James Born

Kristen Rapoza
March 23, 2015

Hi James,

Please go here: and enter in the email address associated with you account so you’re password can be recovered and sent to you.

Have a great day!
Kristen R. with Harvard Health Publishing

March 19, 2015

I was told that folic acid is mostly taken by women who are expecting a baby. That means men are excluded from taking folic acid pills. How true is this?
I am 80 years old male.

March 29, 2015

No, women expecting a baby just have higher daily requirements of folic acid to reduce the risk of disorders like spina bifida occurring in the baby. Men are not excluded from taking folic acid pills; they are widely available OTC, often with B12 included and for older gentlemen who may not be getting sufficient folate from food alone it is probably a good supplement to take.

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