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Heart & Circulation

Iron and folic acid provide heart and kidney protection

Circulating iron protects the heart

To determine iron deficiency, doctors typically measure iron and ferritin stored in the body. While iron stores may be sufficient, too little circulating iron may prevent the body from working properly, leading doctors to consider “functional” iron deficiency (FID)—circulating and stored—rather than “absolute” iron deficiency (AID)—stored iron only.

Here, doctors evaluated FID and AID in 12,164 participants in three studies lasting an average 13.3 years. At the start, 60 percent had AID while 64 percent had FID. Those with FID were 24 percent more likely develop coronary heart disease compared to 20 percent of those with AID. Those with FID were also 26 percent more likely to die from heart and circulatory conditions, while there was no link detected in AID, suggesting that measuring FID rather than AID can save lives, doctors said.

Reference: European Society of Cardiology—Heart Failure; 2021, ehf2.13589, Published Online

Folic acid protects the kidneys in high blood pressure

High blood pressure (BP) can damage the kidneys, raising chances for protein to escape into the urine, a condition called proteinuria. To build muscle and bone, protein must remain circulating in the blood.

This study followed 8,208 people treating high BP with enalapril, who began without proteinuria. Participants had high neutrophil counts; an inflammatory factor in BP. After an average of 4.4 years, chances for developing proteinuria was 2.8 percent for those who had added folic acid to enalapril, compared to 5.2 percent for those who had not added folic acid.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 126, No. 7, 1040-7


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