The ability to process information, react to moving objects and overall levels of brain power increased with age among the group that took daily folic acid supplements during the three-year study.
"The right supplements can greatly boost brain function," said Mike Adams, author of "Natural Health Solutions." "Folic acid is only one supplement out of dozens with proven brain function benefits, such as St. John's wort, Ginkgo biloba, vinpocetine and many others."
Folate, the natural form of folic acid, is primarily found in broccoli, brown rice, oranges, peas, sprouts and whole wheat bread, according to the web site of the health services department of Columbia University.
The study, led by Jane Durga from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, showed that the people who were given high doses of folic acid improved their brain power over counterparts given placebos.
"Trials similar to our own should now be repeated to provide greater insight into the clinical relevance of folic acid to people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia," Durga said
The supplements were also found to reduce levels of homocysteine, a chemical in blood linked to heart disease and dementia.
One group put out a warning in response to the study’s result. The British charity Age Concern warned that taking a lot of folic acid could have a side effect of interacting poorly with Vitamin B12 -- found in meat, eggs and dairy products – and could cause further neurological damage, the Telegraph newspaper reported.
The folic acid study was published Friday in The Lancet, a British medical journal.