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A study of 8,000 people ages 2 to 85 has found that folic acid — or vitamin B9 — may help reduce allergies and asthma, reports Medical News Today. Researchers say that those who had the highest levels of folate in their blood had a 40 percent lower risk of wheezing, and a 16 percent lower risk of having asthma in general. Similar results were seen on folate’s ability to reduce allergic response. Experts say the key may be folate’s ability to reduce inflammation, which could lessen the impact allergens have on nasal and lung tissue, according to the publication.
The new research, from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, is believed to be the first study in humans examining the link between blood levels of folate and allergies. A report on the Hopkins Children’s findings appears online ahead of print in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
Folate and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. The current recommendation for daily dietary intake of folic acid is 400 micrograms for healthy men and non-pregnant women. Folate occurs naturally in food, and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin.
According to the Mayo Clinic, foods high in folate include cereals, baked goods, leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, lettuce), okra, asparagus, fruits (bananas, melons, lemons), legumes, yeast, mushrooms, beef liver, kidneys, orange juice and tomato juice.