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Does Folic Acid Help Reduce Cholesterol?

By Joseph Pritchard

More than one-half of the adult population in the United States suffers from high cholesterol, according to a 2008 article in "The New York Times Health Guide," a medical reference guide accredited by the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission. Folic acid is a possible means of treating high cholesterol, according to a study published in a 2009 issue of “Journal Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.” Folic acid also helps your body convert carbohydrates into blood sugar as well as helping your body metabolize fats and protein.

Folic Acid, Bile Acid Metabolism and Cholesterol Levels

Bile is a substance produced from cholesterol and helps you digest fat. A study published in a 2009 issue of “Journal Studies on Alcohol and Drugs” found that folic acid increased bile flow as well as bile acid synthesis from cholesterol. Doing so caused cholesterol levels in the body to decrease. This suggests the potential use of folic acid in treating high cholesterol. Because the study involved ethanol-fed rats, further studies are needed to determine whether the effect occurs in non-alcoholic humans.

Use with Cholesterol Medication

A study featured in a 2004 issue of the “International Journal of Cardiology” found that folic acid is potentially useful in helping lower cholesterol levels in patients who have suffered heart attacks. However, because cholesterol levels decreased in both the control and folic acid groups, further research is needed to determine the feasibility of using folic acid with cholesterol medications as a means of treating high cholesterol.

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Other Ways of Lowering Cholesterol Levels

One way of lowering your cholesterol levels requires you to lower your dietary fat intake to between 25 and 35 percent of your total daily calories, according to a 2008 article in "The New York Times Health Guide." Increase your dietary fiber intake and level of physical activity. Eat less than 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day. Keep your weight within the range that is appropriate to your height, age and gender. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine to ensure the changes you make are beneficial to you.

Folic Acid Recommended Daily Allowance

Adults and adolescents over the age of 14 need 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. Infants under 6 months need only 65 micrograms of folic acid daily. Infants over 6 months and children up to 13 years of age need between 80 and 300 micrograms of folic acid. Dietary sources of folic acid include spinach, avocado and salmon.

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