Folic Acid for Vascular Function for Female Runners

Women who compete in sport at a high level, particularly those who consume too little calories or Iron, may develop irregular periods (amenorrhea) and increase their eventual risk of heart disease. 44% of female High School runners in one study had athletic-associated amenorrhea. However, according to new findings the effects on vascular health may be offset by folic acid supplementation. 20 female runners aged between 18 and 35 were divided into those with disturbed menstrual cycles (who had reduced blood vessel dilation) or a control group that were menstruating normally. Results showed normalisation of vasodilation in amenorrheic women after both sets of women received 10 mg of folic acid for four weeks.

What can you do?

Folic acid and B-vitamins are used in biological syntheses of new tissues, making them particularly important for adapting following exercise, but essential for women who one day want to have children. Found in whole grains, but mostly in animal products (essential for B12), vegetarians and women are groups prone to deficiency who may want to supplement .

Hoch, A.Z. et al.,(2010); “Folic Acid Supplementation Improves Vascular Function in Amenorrheic Runners” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: 20, 3, Pages 205-210

About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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