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From "Take Folic Acid Before You Forget," by Sheldon Lewis. Published by Spirituality & Health Magazine:

High doses of folic acid—the synthetic form of the B-vitamin folate, which is found in leafy green vegetables and dried peas and beans—may help improve memory and slow the decline of cognitive function in aging, according to a study by Dutch scientists reported at a recent meeting of Alzheimers researchers. The helpful dose, 800 micrograms, is twice that recommended for women of childbearing age to prevent certain birth defects.

In the study, led by Jane Durga, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Human Nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, 818 cognitively healthy people, ages 50 to 75, took either folic acid or a placebo for three years. The folic acid takers had memory test scores comparable to people five-and-a-half years younger, and on tests of mental quickness, they performed as well as people nearly two years younger.

This research, the first to show that a vitamin could improve memory function, adds to the known health benefits of folic acid, which in addition to reducing neural tube defects in children, may prevent heart disease and stroke.

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