New research shows folic acid supplements can help the hearts of children with diabetes. Researchers from Australia and New Zealand presented their findings over the weekend at the American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in New Orleans.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are two- to four-times more likely to have heart disease as compared to those without diabetes. More than 65 percent of people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke. Folic acid has been shown to improve endothelial function in adults with type 2 diabetes. Researchers say it could also benefit kids. Thirty-eight children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes were included in the study. They each received eight weeks of five milligrams of folic acid and eight weeks of a placebo, which were separated by an eight-week washout period. All had normal folate levels at the beginning of the study.
Researchers measured endothelial dysfunction using flow-mediated dilatation in each of the children. Endothelial dysfunction occurs in children with type 1 diabetes and is associated with folate status. Endothelial dysfunction also occurs early in arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Upon evaluation, researchers found folic acid supplements significantly improved endothelial function in children.