The number of benefits of taking folic acid — and its natural form folate — continues to rise thanks to a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that women who take folic acid supplements during their childbearing years are at a reduced risk of hypertension.

Researchers learned that women with hypertension (high blood pressure) who took folate were able to significantly reduce their blood pressure. By taking more than 1,000 mcg a day of folic acid there was a 46% reduction in high blood pressure of women who participated in the study.

It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement (400 micrograms per day) as it offers a variety of benefits, most importantly a greatly reduced risk of the development of neural tube defects in children in the womb.

All women are advised to ask their doctor before starting a daily regimen of folic acid, and certainly before increasing their daily intake above 400 mcg.