Some research is now showing that a deficieny in folate can put one at risk for stroke and dementia. Researchers at the University of Calgary report that elderly people with low blood levels of folic acid (folate) are more likely to suffer a stroke than are people with normal to high levels. Their study involved 1171 subjects aged 65 years and older who were enrolled in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. The researchers found that participants with a folate level below 9.3 nmol/L had a relative risk for ischemic stroke of 1.37. They also discovered that people with low folate levels were more likely to be depressed or demented, tended to have a history of weight loss, and were more apt to rate their health as poor. The researchers conclude that folate deficiencies in elderly people can have serious implications and point out that these deficiencies are easily, inexpensively, and rapidly correctable through supplementation.
Ebly, Erika M., et al. Folate status, vascular disease and cognition in elderly Canadians. Age and Aging, Vol. 27, July 1998, pp. 485-91