Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Folic Acid Linked To Increased Cancer Rate, Historical Review Suggests

Date:
November 5, 2007
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
The introduction of flour fortified with folic acid into common foods was followed by an increase in colon cancer diagnoses in the U.S. and Canada. For nearly a decade, folic acid, a chemical form of a common B vitamin (folate), has been added to wheat flour and other grain products in the U.S. and Canada. This public health measure was enacted after evidence was discovered linking folic acid with a reduced rate of a specific birth defect that affected the development of the spinal cord and central nervous system. During the same period, however, rates of colorectal cancer in the U.S. inexplicably began rising, even as regular colonoscopy check-ups became more common.

Two recent commentaries appearing in Nutrition Reviews find that the introduction of flour fortified with folic acid into common foods was followed by an increase in colon cancer diagnoses in the U.S. and Canada. The two new review articles address these recent findings and provide an overview of the existing evidence on folic acid fortification and the associated policy issues.

For nearly a decade, folic acid, a chemical form of a common B vitamin (folate), has been added to wheat flour and other grain products in the U.S. and Canada. This public health measure was enacted after evidence was discovered linking folic acid with a reduced rate of a specific birth defect that affected the development of the spinal cord and central nervous system. During the same period, however, rates of colorectal cancer in the U.S. inexplicably began rising, even as regular colonoscopy check-ups became more common. In Canada, where folic acid supplementation was introduced a bit later, the same trend has been observed.

Dr. Solomons, author of one of the review commentaries, “Food Fortification with Folic Acid: Has the Other Shoe Dropped?” advises that a careful reconsideration of the fortification program is needed. “One size of dietary folic acid exposure does not fit all. It can be beneficial to some and detrimental to others at the same time,” comments Solomons.

Since the risk-benefit value of fortification varies according to age, Solomons suggests a reevaluation of the manner in which folic acid to prevent birth defects is delivered to the public. Among other things, targeting women of reproductive age while reducing folic acid levels in foods for which fortification is optional (such as ready-to-eat cereals and commercial drinks), would be worthy of consideration, in the opinion of Solomons.

As a result of noted birth defect reduction, 42 countries have implemented some form of mandatory folic acid fortification. The two commentaries stress the need to carefully consider and balance the risks and benefits associated with introducing such a program.

“Folic acid supplementation wields a double-edged sword,” remarks Dr. Young-In Kim, author of “Folic Acid Fortification and Supplementation—Good for Some but Not So Good for Others,” the other commentary review published in the November issue. According to Kim, “It may be beneficial or harmful, depending on the timing of intervention.” Exposure to high intakes of folic acid in early life and young adulthood may provide life-long protection from the tendency for cancer formation in different organs, such as the large intestines, whereas such exposures later in life, when cell damage has occurred, can spur on the advance of the tumor.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Folic Acid Linked To Increased Cancer Rate, Historical Review Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071102111956.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2007, November 5). Folic Acid Linked To Increased Cancer Rate, Historical Review Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071102111956.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Folic Acid Linked To Increased Cancer Rate, Historical Review Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071102111956.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins