A study led by sports medicine researcher Anne Hoch, D.O. at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee has found that oral folic acid may provide a safe and inexpensive treatment to improve vascular function in young female runners who are amenorrheic (not menstruating). The study is published in the May 2010 issue of Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.
While the benefits for women leading an active lifestyle, including running, are profound and well-known, there are serious exercise-associated health risks. Young female athletes who do not eat enough to offset the energy they expend exercising can stop menstruating or develop irregular menses as a consequence. Their resulting estrogen profile is similar to that of postmenopausal women who have low estrogen levels placing the young women at higher risk for early onset heart disease.
There are nearly three million girls in high school sports and approximately 23 million women who run at least six times a week. The prevalence of athletic-associated amenorrhea among these runners is now estimated at 44 percent. A previous study by Dr. Hoch conducted at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Milwaukee, revealed that 54 percent of the varsity athletes were currently or had a history of amenorrhea.
"The earliest sign of heart disease can be measured by reduced dilation in the brachial artery of the arm in response to blood flow. Reduced vascular dilation can limit oxygen uptake and affect performance," says Anne Hoch, D. O., the study's lead author. Dr. Hoch is a professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of the Froedtert & the Medical College Women's Sports Medicine Center.
The current study by Dr. Hoch's research team found that folic acid supplement improved blood flow-mediated dilation in the brachial artery which correlates with increased blood flow to the heart.
Both children and adults require folic acid to produce healthy red blood ce
|Contact: Toranj Marphetia|
Medical College of Wisconsin