The study published online in the journal Clinical Science showed that supplemental folic acid can enhance blood vessel dilation in older adults."We know that when older adults are exposed to heat, their bodies are not able to increase skin blood flow to the same extent that young subjects do, and as a consequence, older adults are at a greater risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, during environmental heat waves," explained Anna Stanhewicz, post-doctoral fellow at the Pennsylvania State University.Researchers know this is due, in part, to aged blood vessels that cannot produce enough nitric oxide, Stanhewicz said.Nitric oxide is the molecule produced by the blood vessels using an enzyme that requires tetrahydrobiopterin -- BH4.

"The bottom line is that folic acid supplementation increased nitric oxide production in older blood vessels," Stanhewicz said.Folic acid is vitamin B that every cell in your body needs for normal growth and development. When folic acid is naturally in a food, it's called folate.Some good sources of folate are beans, like lentils, pinto beans and black beans; leafy green vegetables, like spinach and asparagus, broccoli; peanuts; citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit among others.

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