November 30/Food & Fitness Advisor -- Folic acid supplements have been linked with lowering blood levels of homocysteine, and high levels of homocysteine have been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), so it has been thought that taking folic acid might decrease the incidence of events such as heart attack and stroke. However, according to researchers who reviewed data from eight clinical trials, those who took folic acid were no less likely to have a major heart or blood vessel event than those who took a placebo.

These findings, published in the October 11, 2010, issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, are contrary to earlier findings and are particularly relevant for anyone who takes folic acid in hopes of preventing cardiovascular events.

Folate (the natural form of folic acid) is present in many foods. Nutrition experts recommend getting nutrients from foods rather than supplements whenever possible. Folate-rich foods include lentils, dried beans and peas, and dark leafy greens. Furthermore, many food staples, such as cereals, flour, pasta and rice, contain added folic acid.

From the December 6, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition